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Category Archives: Galatians

Galatians 6:7-10

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Galatians 6:7-10

Dear God, I was at a Sacred Marriage seminar by Gary Thomas, and he said something that struck me. I guess I’ve heard him say it before, but it landed with me a little more than in the past. [My paraphrase]: “People pursue happiness through any number of efforts to make themselves feel good in the moment, but the only way to real happiness is to pursue holiness.”

That is so true. What is true happiness but deep peace, and I’ve found there is no peace apart from you. And I cannot connect my branch with our a combination of my repentance and pursuit of you and your forgiveness when I fall short. Someone who is dear to me sees you as a set of rules to follow and the way he found what he calls happiness was to throw you off. But while I see him pursuing things that make him happy, I don’t see peace.

Father, I’m not perfect. I sin. I covet. I lie to preserve myself. I create idols that replace you. I lust. I don’t pretend to be anything I’m not. But I do love you, and I do want to pursue you and your holiness. There’s so much freedom in it. Freedom to simply worship you and then channel your presence into the world. I’ve never found more joy, peace, and “happiness” than when I’m in that place. Help me to be that man today.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2023 in Galatians

 

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Galatians 4:1-7

Think of it this way. If a father dies and leaves an inheritance for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had. They have to obey their guardians until they reach whatever age their father set. And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world. But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
Galatians 4:1-7

Dear God, I’m not sure I’ve noticed this inheritance analogy before from Paul. At least, I don’t remember noticing it.

Being an heir to something is interesting. So much of life depends on who your parents happen to be and what their place is in the world. I was talking with a woman yesterday who was born to much less fortunate circumstances than me. Not only economically, but also from a parenting standpoint. She didn’t have parents on which she could depend. They had limitations. She loves them, but she has had to do much more for herself to get where she wanted to go in life than I have had to do.

But one thing your love through Jesus does is it levels the playing field for all of us. In the end, after this short life is over, we get to be your heirs. We get to be your child. I mean, we get to be your child here too, but here is so, so temporary. What comes next is unfathomable, and that’s where we get to be your child.

Father, there is so much I don’t understand, but I am grateful to get to call you, “Father.” You aren’t just “God,” but you are my Father. Jesus, you are my Lord and my God along with the Father. Holy Spirit, you are my God as well, all part of the same God. You comfort and counsel me. I could use some comfort and counsel now. Please help me with the things that are on my heart.

I pray this all in the name of you, my Triune God,

Amen

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2022 in Galatians

 

Galatians 5:18-25

18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Galatians 5:18-25

Dear God, I was thinking this morning that I’ve been spending so much time in the Old Testament through the Bible in a Year Podcast this year that I am kind of missing the New Testament. I looked at what the New Testament reading is today for the Catholic church and, low and behold, it was one of my favorite passages–the fruits of the Spirit. Yay!

Verse 18 is fascinating (shocking?) and needs a little more context. I’m not under the law if I’m directed by the Holy Spirit?!? What does that mean? Well, here is the verse right before that:

17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. Galatians 5:17

I have a particular assignment today that makes me nervous. I’m starting to mentor a boy who likely has a troubled life. I’m nervous. I’ve mentored two other boys through the Academic Boosters mentoring program, and neither turned out like I had hoped. Will this one go better? Did I make any kind of an impression on the other two boys? Will you be able to impact this child through me?

My wife and I were praying to you together this morning, and I prayed about this. I prayed that the Holy Spirit would lead me in my interactions with the boy. And now here I am reading about the Spirit guiding me. So I’m trusting that the Holy Spirit–you, Holy Spirit–will be with me today.

Holy Spirit, Father, Jesus, channel through me today. Guide me. Help me. Help me with this boy. Help me at work. Help me with my wife and children. Help me with my family. Speak to me in your still, small voice and love through me.

I pray this through the privilege afforded to me through Jesus,

Amen

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2022 in Galatians

 

Galatians 2:20

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

Dear God, I’ve been thinking recently about whether or not I give you enough of the glory and credit, even in my own mind, for the good around me. Do I take the credit? Do I look at good fortune or successes and forget how I cried out to you for help? I think that even at my best, I do this to some extent, but over the last couple of days, especially as I was even giving a presentation to a local club last night, I think I was too much about me and my glory, and not enough about your glory.

Father, if I’m going to live as if it’s you who lives in me then I not only need to ask myself what Jesus would do in a given situation, but I need to actually let the Holy Spirit flow through my life and let him speak and act through me. So, Holy Spirit, I invite you to live through me today. Love through me today. Speak through me today. Be my counselor, my comforter, and my connection with the Father.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2021 in Galatians

 

Galatians 5:13-15

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.

Galatians 5:13-15

Dear God, in a sermon Andy Stanley gave back in August 2020 called ‘Not in it to Win It” (I’ve mentioned this sermon many times and listened to it more than a few), one of the things he said was that the church is at its worst when it is fighting for its own rights and at its best when it is fighting for the rights of others. Again, that was for the church as a whole, but I think that can be applied to us as individuals as well. I think we are at our best, as Christians or any other religion/non-religion group of people, when we are more worried about the rights of others and laying our own rights down.

I suppose that is what Jesus modeled for us in what he did. As your son, he had the right to stay in heaven and ignore us. He had the right to come to earth in luxury, live as a king, not suffer at all, teach us for a while, and then ascend into heaven like Elijah. But that’s not what he did. He gave up his spot in heaven for 33 years, he lived as a poor child and adult, he walked through the human experience during a fairly primitive time in civilization, he submitted himself to extreme pain, and ultimately trusted you with his life. He did all of this so he could fight for the rights of others.

Father, help me, today, to find those for whom I am supposed to fight. My rights are immaterial. My selfishness is a hinderance to my happiness. The attaining of the things I want will not bring me joy–selfless service is what will bring me joy. So help me to be gracious with people who disagree with me. Help me to be loving to those who feel unloved. And help me to serve those who need served.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2021 in Galatians

 

Galatians 6:1-3

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

Galatians 6:1-3

Dear God, the verse of the day was verse 2: “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” But it’s another one that can be completely taken out of context. Verses 1 and 3 totally change the meaning of it. It’s one thing to think of my friend facing a partial leg amputation and how I might help to bear his burden. It’s a completely different thing to think about the person I’ve seen do a lot of wrong to others as well as to myself and think about how I might bear his burdens.

For privacy’s sake, I won’t get too specific about this, but it’s probably something I need to think about. For the ma I am particularly thinking about, what does bearing his burden look like? As I sit here and think about it, I think it starts with caring about his restoration and being willing to expose myself to him even though he is really angry with me. I don’t know. This is a really tricky one. In this case, because of complicating factors, I just don’t know that I am the person for the job on this one. I see that he needs to be approached, but I can also see that there is too much baggage with me for him to be able to hear anything I would have to say I just don’t think I am a voice he can hear.

This passage does, however, make me wonder how many others there are in my sphere that I need to think about bearing their burden and helping them. I wonder what/who Paul was thinking of when he wrote these words. What was the situation? How as it resolved?

Father, I do want to pray for a couple of things today. There are actually three on my heart. On the biggest level, I want to pray about the election. I know there was a debate last night, although I didn’t watch it. I’ve even done my best to stay away from the news this week. But I know that certainly something is happening in our country–and it’s even greater than who wins the election. People are angry and distrustful of one another. Satan is attacking our unity and it is working. Please guide us as a nation. Show us your path forwards. I don’t know how far down you will have to break us to bring us to unity again. The answer to that question scares me. But please help us. Then I’d like to pray for the people in the fires in California and Colorado. Home are being evacuated. Businesses destroyed. Please be sovereign in all of these situations. Provide for the firefighters and first responders. Keep them safe. Take care of the wildlife involved. And then I pray for my friend who might lose part of his leg. I pray against the infection in his leg. I know he is widowed and lives alone. Provide for him. But please spare is leg if you can. He is such a nice man. Everything I know about his is lovely. Please be a great and powerful God to him. And I guess I have one more. For the family about whom I’m thinking that needs some financial help while they face a health crisis. Please help them and love them. Show my wife and me what role you have for us to play in their lives.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2020 in Galatians

 

Galatians 3:1-6

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Galatians 3:1-6

Dear God, I get very task-oriented. I lay out my plan for the day. I lay out my activities. I look at the landscape (political, social, personal), determine what is lacking or problematic, and then decide what I must do. I am good at it. But I am a Galatian fool!

What if, just what if, I were to start with worship and then let my actions flow from that? What if I started with my faith in you/Jesus/Holy Spirit and then started to see the world and that “landscape” I mentioned above through your eyes instead of my own? What if I looked at our politics and remembered that there is nothing to fear because you are in control, and I might never see what you are doing in this physical world in my lifetime? What if I applied that same concept to the societal issues and personal issues facing me? What if I let go of my own agenda and just allowed myself to move through the direction I feel from you instead of my own so called wisdom?

Father, right now, I have some work in front of me, and I am the luckiest man in the world because 80% of it is about loving others. I get to write thank you letters to people who sent donations. I get to write update letters to donors to whom our work means a lot. I get to write a flyer to hand out to church members on Sunday to whom I am speaking about our clinic and the work we do with our patients. I get to love, love, love as the work you have for me. Beyond that, I am having lunch with a friend, and I get to sow into his life and allow you to sow into mine through him. I get to love my wife and spend time with her tonight. And if I decided to venture into social media tonight, I have an opportunity to be a source of your love and not divisiveness. None of these things will likely change the problems I think I are important, but they might just move the needle in helping your kingdom to come and your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Use me as you will, and I will start by worshipping you.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2020 in Galatians

 

Galatians 1:11-24

I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus. Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they praised God because of me.

Galatians 1:11-24

Dear God, I’m not sure I’ve ever spent much time with this passage or the idea that Paul wasn’t really taught his theology by the apostles or other disciples, but had direct revelation from you. I really do wonder how much of my theology is tainted by the teaching of others. I wonder if I should spend more time just silently with you. Even when I exercise–no music, podcasts, or videos. What if I just allowed silence and tried to meditate on you?

I talked on the phone with a pastor friend today. I call him a friend, but I don’t really know him that well. But I called to ask him about something and he asked how I am doing. I told him honestly about a couple of struggles we are experiencing after losing my wife’s father a few weeks ago, and he prayed the most beautiful prayer for my wife and me over the phone. I know I’ve felt that way before. I know I’ve prayed that way before. I just don’t feel that close connection with you now. I know that emotions ebb and flow, and I can’t always be on a spiritual high or 100% tuned into you, but I pretty sure I can be better than I’ve been.

Father, I’m sorry I’ve let self-righteousness, bitterness, and judgmental-ness infiltrate my heart. I’m sorry for any way in which I’ve not been what you need me to be for my wife or anyone else. Help me to be a complete source of love for everyone I know or who touches my life. Family. Friends. Patients. Volunteers. Coworkers. Donors. My community. I don’t need to be right. I don’t need to be better than anyone else. I just need to be your vessel, messenger, and ambassador. Help me to be all of those things for your glory’s sake.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2020 in Galatians

 

Galatians 6:14-18

As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God. From now on, don’t let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus. Dear brothers and sisters, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Galatians 6:14-18

Dear God, there is so much debate still, even in my own heart, about what a “new creation” is supposed to look like. Should it be good enough for me that a person is pursuing you in worship even if they have, what I consider to be, obvious sin in their life, or should I see a sinless “new creation?” I suppose the answer to that question is the former because no one is sinless. We are all working out our faith with fear and trembling. I’m typing this at 7:37 in the morning, and I have already sinned today. I’m sorry for that, by the way. I’m sorry for allowing sinful thoughts and even words to gather and come out of me. I’m sorry.

So I suppose that loving others, Christians and non-Christians alike, should be what I lead with. If I can love those who disagree with me politically, socially, religiously, or even in interpersonal matters, then I can know the peace and mercy that Paul references to the Galatians here. But if I decide that I need to judge others for how they are failing in thought, word, or deed, then I will not experience that need. To be sure, I shouldn’t just ignore the sin in my life. And I should judiciously talk with others about sin, but only in times when you have given me a legitimate voice in their life and a divine appointment to do it. I’m pretty sure that time is never on social media or even in writing.

Father, help me to look beyond “circumcision” and all of the modern ways we apply the concept of judging the wrong thing. Help me to know how to be your representative to every person with whom I come into contact, and bring your Kingdom and will into the earth through me and your church. You know, beyond that, do it through whomever you please. Your Kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2020 in Galatians

 

Matthew 7:13-14

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Matthew 7:13-14

Dear God, the gate is a constant choice. It’s interesting that choosing a life through the narrow gate or the wide gate will have a cumulative effect and will build on itself, but there’s a portal from each road that will take me to the other instantly.

So what are some ways I can accidentally go through that portal that gets me to the road with the wide gate?

  • Self-indulgence
  • Clinging to my rights over others’ rights
  • Lethargy
  • Judging others
  • Gossip
  • Ignoring the struggles of others
  • Gluttony

Now that I think about it, it is choosing all of the things in Galatians 5:19-21:

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The gate is wide for all of these, and I can find myself easily wanting to fall into at least half of them.

But the narrow gate and road are really only dictated by two choices:

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
Luke 10:25-28

Love you with all my heart, soul, and strength and love my neighbor as myself.

Father, I am taking these two days as a vacation, and I have a choice for these two days. I can be self-indulgent or I can love you and love others. If I allow myself to be consumed by news, social media, watching movies/TV, then I will find that I’ll return to work on Thursday in a worse place that I left yesterday afternoon. But if I will take these two days to rest, meditate on you and your word, and think about how my life might be a blessing to those around me then I have a chance of going to work on Thursday morning walking on the narrow path and being a blessing to others in your name. Help me to use these two days wisely.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2020 in Galatians, Luke, Matthew