Category Archives: Galatians

Exodus 28; John 7; Proverbs 4; Galatians 3

Distracted driving! This is a term that has come to the forefront in the past few years. Thanks to technology, we can communicate with any one at any time. This has created quite an issue with drivers and become dangerous. For myself, I can remember being tired and driving home from work with glazed eyes just staring ahead. Once I got home, I wasn’t even sure how I got there. I have missed turns because I was having a conversation and not paying attention. Sometimes I really, really struggle to resist looking at my phone because someone texted me while I was driving. I am sorry to admit I have, on occasion, given in and tried to read and drive. That is not only dangerous to me, but it is also dangerous for anyone around me. I need to keep my eyes focused on the road before me at all times and be aware of my surroundings. This knowledge creates wisdom.

20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil. (Prov. 4:20-27)

Solomon has been credited with writing most of the proverbs. He is also known as the man who asked God for wisdom. (1 Kings 3:9). The dictionary defines wisdom as “knowledge, and the capacity to make due use of it” (Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary). These words are a warning for our protection.  Pay attention! Remember my words, keep them in your heart, for your very life is at stake!

First, Solomon tells us to guard our hearts for everything flows from it. How true is that statement! I have let my heart make decisions for me that turned out to cause so much pain in my life. I have had to learn when it is okay to share it and when I must guard it. I need to watch what I say and speak loving, kind words—not words considered acceptable by the rest of the world. These words not only hurt my heart, they hurt the heart of our God.

I learned the hard way what happens when you do not keep your eyes on the path before you. I followed my heart into a situation that took me away from God. I took my eyes off Jesus! It seemed the right choice at the time, but God showed me that someone was taking advantage of my compassionate heart and I was being manipulated into doing something I thought was the loving thing to do. I looked away for an instant and paid the price–it led me straight into sin. Have you ever noticed that when you are driving and you look away, the car steers where your eyes are directed? We are not to turn to the right or the left but follow the path before us. We cannot let ourselves be distracted.

36 “Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: holy to the Lord. 37 Fasten a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban; it is to be on the front of the turban. 38 It will be on Aaron’s forehead, and he will bear the guilt involved in the sacred gifts the Israelites consecrate, whatever their gifts may be. It will be on Aaron’s forehead continually so that they will be acceptable to the Lord. (Ex. 28:36-38) NIV

Jesus paid much too high a price for us to not listen to his words, his wisdom, which comes from his Father. Because of him, we have the Holy Spirit in us. Because of him, we have “HOLY TO THE LORD” written on our souls—not our foreheads. We do not need a priest to bear our guilt, Jesus did it on a cross. It was the greatest gift of all time. Because of him, we are acceptable to the LORD.

28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal 3:28-29)

Lord Jesus, thank you for leaving us your wisdom. Thank you for the example you lived before the eyes of the disciples that has been passed down to us. Because of you, we are heirs to a great promise and a great future. We must keep our eyes focused on you at all times looking neither to the right or the left so we will not be distracted. Help us to guard our hearts, for streams of living water flow from within us as it says in John 7. Let it flow from us to the places you want it to go. I pray this in your precious name, Amen.

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Exodus, Galatians, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Proverbs

1 Samuel 6-8; Galatians 5; Psalm 72

I’ve heard a saying that what you focus on, you get more of it.

Dear God, give me a kingdom focus.

The Ark remained in Kiriath-jearim for a long time—twenty years in all. During that time all Israel mourned because it seemed the Lord had abandoned them.
Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, “If you want to return to the Lord with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.” So the Israelites got rid of their images of Baal and Ashtoreth and worshiped only the Lord (1 Samuel 7:2-4, NLT).

Last year I wrote down some goals in hopes to bring order and direction to my life. I had been going in too many directions, saying yes to too many people, that I didn’t really make progress in anything, in fact my efforts to make others happy took me away from the people and things God gave me to steward. When I narrowed my focus, it gave me the filter I needed to make my steps intentional. When I took my eyes off that focus, there was no shortage of requests and demands eager to distract me from the tasks that most needed my attention.

The Israelites went some time maintaining their focus on God and enjoying peace and protection. But when the backdrop began to change, they started to lose their focus and placed it elsewhere. Again.

As Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons to be judges over Israel. Joel and Abijah, his oldest sons, held court in Beersheba. But they were not like their father, for they were greedy for money. They accepted bribes and perverted justice.

Finally, all the elders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel. “Look,” they told him, “you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.”

Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance. “Do everything they say to you,” the Lord replied, “for they are rejecting me, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them” (1 Samuel 8:1-9, NLT. Emphasis added.).

Samuel warns them about what life will be like under a king’s rule. And their response?

“18 When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the Lord will not help you.”

19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. 20 “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle” (1 Samuel 8:18-20, NLT).

Even so. We want to be like the nations around us.

Even so. Would I trade God’s peace and protection so that I could resemble the world around me? So that I could make others happy and throw myself off course of what matters and what God has called me to do?

16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 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. 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 (Galatians 5:16-23, NLT)!

Lord, help me to keep my eyes focused on you and your kingdom. I want to be directed by the Spirit and bear good fruit. Sometimes life’s backdrop changes, but you remain sovereign through all time.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Galatians

1 Samuel 4-5; Galatians 4; Psalm 77

I have never seen this before, but didn’t the army of Israel look at the ark as a good luck charm – is that why they shouted?

As soon as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel gave a mighty shout, so that the earth resounded. – 1 Samuel 4:5 ESV

So now they are untouchable, not because God walked with them but because they turned the ark into their “god.” I can recall right away movie scenes where people used the cross as their good luck charm or even the Bible and they warded off evil – only in the movies of course.

What do people see I put my trust in – my hope in – where does my joy sustain itself? I was challenged to love those I am with so that they could see God’s love for them.

My little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! – Galatians 4:19 ESV

What makes my relationship with God harder than a good luck charm is that it costs me. First, that I care so much, and secondly that it means that my conversations with others are not shallow, but rather deep and meaningful. Finally, I forget the change is indeed painful. I go forward because I have learned that the benefits far outweigh the cost.

Are there doubts? Of course, why else the good luck charms? That is why Psalm 77 is so relevant as we experience change. This verse in particular grabs my attention.

Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion? – Psalm 77:9 ESV

Just like Israel, just like those I am walking with, I pray and I know God answers. Problem is solved. Then my feelings get involved and I wonder if He has received my notice because nothing seems to be changing. Then I wonder if I have sinned a sin that has blocked His favour. Too much wondering, too much worry and when I settle down and relax, rest, God speaks His love and everything goes back on track. No lucky charm required.

Father, I have learned to be patient and I have learned to trust You. From time to time, I find a way to forget, but I love the fact that when we spend time together, everything else comes together too, even my memory. Your love is powerful, fills my cup each day. I am thankful for the little resemblance I have of You and joy in others seeing You in me. Thank you. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Galatians, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

1 Samuel 1-3; Galatians 3; Psalms 66

 “Why are you crying, Hannah?” Elkanah would ask.  “Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me-isn’t that better than having ten sons?”  “Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord.  And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you.  He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.  When Elekanah slept with Hannah, the Lord remembered her plea, and in due time she gave birth to a son.  She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.  I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord.  I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request.  Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they worshiped the Lord there.” 1 Samuel 1-2 NLT

It is refreshing to see Hannah’s vulnerability.  In her faithfulness, she was still human.  She struggled and shed tears.  She cried out to the Lord and he answered her prayer.  He rewarded her faithfulness.  He gave back to her in abundance.

“Before they returned home, Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the Lord give you other children to take the place of this one she gave to the Lord.” And the Lord blessed Hannah, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters.  Meanwhile, Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.” 1 Samuel 2:20&21 NLT

What am I holding onto that God is asking me to give to him? What is my Samuel?  Sometimes it is a daily surrendering to him.  He knows I can’t do it alone, so he gave me his Spirit.

“You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ.  How foolish can you be? After starting new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?” In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.” Galatians 3:6&7 NLT

Dear Father, Thank you for Father for your presence.  That you promise to always be with me.  Forgive me when I doubt.  Thank you for your faithfulness in my life.  Thank you for your patience and unfailing love towards me.  Help me to live in a posture of surrender to you.

“If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.  But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer.  Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me.” Psalms 66:18-20 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

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Exodus 4-6; Galatians 6

“But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The Lord never appeared to you’?” Then the Lord asked him, “What is that in your hand?” “A shepherd’s staff,” Moses replied. “Throw it down on the ground, “The Lord told him. So Moses threw down the staff, and it turned into a snake! Moses jumped back. Then the Lord told him, “Reach out and grab its tail.” So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it turned back into a shepherd’s staff in his hand. “Perform this sign,” the Lord told him. “Then they will believe that the Lord, the God of their ancestors-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob-really has appeared to you.” Exodus 4:1-5 NLT

So many of my doubts sound like Moses’s “What If’s?”

What if….
I am misunderstood.
The words don’t come.
I forget something important.

“But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” Exodus 4:10 NLT

Oh, how I can relate to Moses. I focus on all the reasons why I can’t.   Instead of trusting in a powerful God who wants to do the impossible through me. I start to think of other people who can do it better. But, maybe God just wants a willing heart. I recently sat down for coffee with a struggling friend. As I  listened, I felt the Holy Spirit prodding me to share with her. I found all those “What if” questions surfacing in my mind. But, God used me despite myself and showed up in a powerful way. My friend was infused with hope, and so was I.  I came to realize that it isn’t about me, but God’s glory.

“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are fooling yourself. You are not that important. Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare your self to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” Galatians 6:2-5 NLT

God wanted to use Moses, even though he knew that his brother was a better speaker. No matter how many times the Lord showed Moses he was with him, he gave in to fear and insecurity.  How often has this been me?

Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear? Is it I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.” Then the Lord became angry with Moses. “All right,” he said. “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well. And look! He is on his way to meet you now. “ Exodus 4:11-14 NLT

Dear Father, Help me to be obedient to what you ask of me. Without comparing myself to others. Knowing that you are with me always. Thank you for your Holy Spirit who guides me. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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