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Category Archives: 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

 

Matthew 7:15-23

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Matthew 7:15-23

Dear God, I confess to you that I am coming into these passages today with a huge amount of personal bias. There are leaders who profess to be your children, but, in my mind, they are ferocious wolves in sheep’s clothing. And I recognize it through their fruit. And I’m not linking this to any one particular political party in the U.S. I see hypocrisy everywhere.

So it’s important to think about the fact that Jesus says that I will be able to tell the truth about a person by their fruit. According to Galatians 5:19-21, here are the fruits of the ferocious wolf:

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.

But according to Galatians 5:22-23, here are the fruits of the sheep:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

From a political standpoint, I can’t say that I see many people who seem to be legitimate sheep. What I guess confuses me the most is that there are Christians who are labeling some of these leaders as Christians with no evidence based on these five verses. Someone says they are a Christian and they claim to be pro-life so they are accepted at your vessel. It’s almost surreal to me.

So what is my role in all of this? I confess to you, Father, that I do NOT pray for these leaders nearly enough. I don’t pray for their spiritual transformation. I don’t pray Proverbs 21:1 over them:

In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.

You used Pilate. You used Samson. You have used Godless people throughout history for your purposes. Sometimes you’ve even managed to use me despite the fact that I am a fool. So father, I pray that you will be working in all of this. Give us as Christians and as a nation exactly what we need to bring us into complete repentance and surrender to you. As for me, I am sorry. I am sorry for my sin. I’m sorry for my racism, my selfishness, my lust, my gluttony, and my cowardice. Please give me the courage to do exactly what you want me to do and to not miss any of the opportunities you lay before me.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2020 in Galatians, Matthew, Proverbs

 

Colossians 3:16-17

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:16-17

Dear God, what is the richness of Christ that is supposed to fill my life and I am supposed to share? It takes me back to a great sermon I heard from Andy Stanley last December. He started with a thesis that he understands why people can’t bring themselves to believe in the Jesus of the Bible and that all of the things the Bible says happened really happened. He got that. What he couldn’t understand was why anyone wouldn’t want it to be true. The Jesus of the Bible and his message was so compelling, why wouldn’t you want him to have been real?

So what is it about Jesus that I should want to be real? What is the richness of him that should fill me? Well, how about forgiveness of all of my mistakes and a clean slate between me and you? How about the fruits of the Spirit that enter and grow in my life when I am in relationship with you? How about the standard he and you (and the Spirit) ask me to live up to, asking me to live a life that loves you and loves others, and going and sinning no more?

I think when it comes down to it, the richness comes from something I continually go back to–the fruits of the Spirit. When love, joy, peace, gentleness, faithfulness, kindness, goodness, and self control (Galatians 5:22-23) are growing in your life and consuming the space that was once occupied by sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these (Galatians 5:19-21) then My life becomes richer richer.

Father, help me to be your ambassador. That starts with me being worthy of representing you. Help me to be worthy of people knowing I’m a Christian and evaluating a life spent submitted to you by looking at me. Let them see all of the fruits of the Spirit in me, and that will start by me actually giving you good soil in my soul where you can grow.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2019 in Colossians, Galatians

 

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Romans 11:30-32, 12:1

Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all…Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Romans 11:30-32,12:1

Dear God, putting chapters and verses to scripture was obviously a very helpful thing, but it can sometimes artificially separates things that the author intended to be together. This mornings “verse of the day” from Bible Gateway was Romans 12:1, but it starts with the word “therefore.” Well, that told me if I am going to understand everything Paul means in that verse then I better go back into chapter 11 to see what point he’s making.

In this case, Paul was talking about our need for reconciliation with you. The need we have for you to apply mercy to our disobedience. And the need our friends and neighbors have for you to do the same. Because we need this mercy, our part is to offer our bodies as living sacrifices as our true and proper worship.

But why? Why should I try to tap into this mercy? Why do I need you? For me, I’ve learned that the more I pursue myself the more unsettled I am. If I indulge my whims, lethargy, self gratification, selfishness, and agenda for my own glorification then my spirit is destroyed. I pray about this all of the time. I guess it’s the foundation of my belief in you, but when Paul talked about the fruit of the flesh vs. the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 he described what the fruit of my own flesh looks like:

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.
Galatians 5:19-21

That’s who I am on my own. Why? Because Satan takes me there to destroy me. But when I offer my body as a living sacrifice to you in worship and offer the Holy Spirit good soil in my soul with which he can work I end up with different fruit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

Father, help me to remember throughout my day to offer myself as a living sacrifice to you. Help me to really know what that looks like. Speak to me in different moments in your still small voice and guide me through everything I do. Do it for your glory and my peace.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2019 in Galatians, Romans