Tag Archives: Galatians

Exodus 1-3; Galatians 5

Moses is the walking definition of an outsider. To the Egyptians who took pity upon him as helpless baby, he is Hebrew pet. To the Hebrews, he is the indulged recipient of their master’s capricious favor and viewed with envy and suspicion. The pain of not belonging is palpable; he is a man without a home.

So he flees. He is a refugee attached to a family and people foreign to him. In the dark and lonely “far side of the desert,” Moses comes to the mountain where God speaks and reveals himself. How is it that in our loneliest places, God appears and the course of history changes?

God calls Moses and the people of Israel into a relationship with him:

“I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you:  When you brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” Exodus 3:12

For the first time in history, God reveals his Name:

I AM WHO I AM. Exodus 3:14.

And with that, the fate of the people of Israel is sealed. No longer will they be Egyptian slaves. They are a people freed by their God. They are a people “close to his heart.” Psalm 148:14.

Centuries later, Paul speaks of freedom once again,

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

Because of God’s great love, because of Christ’s death on the cross, I am no longer a slave. I am no longer a refugee. I have a home. I have a place of belonging and it is near the very heart of God.

Lord,  thank you for the freedom you have bought for me at the cost of your Son. Holy Spirit, help me to walk in this freedom today.  May gratitude and joy rise up from the deepest parts of me.  Father, I ask that my thoughts, words and actions today, somehow make you smile.  Your goodness towards me is overflowing. Amen

klueh

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Genesis 49, 50; Galatians 4

But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:19-20

I can think of many times in my life when the enemy, working through other people, has tried to harm me in some way or another, whether physically or emotionally. In the midst of the experience it is hurtful and frustrating. It often leads to feelings of hopelessness and a total loss of control. In my flesh, the aggravation distracts me and I tend take my focus off of God, putting it instead on the circumstances that surround me.

When I realize that I have stopped looking to God, which sad to say sometimes takes longer than I’d like to admit, I know something has to change. I must put my eyes on Jesus. When I refocus on what matters I am more able to look objectively at what is really happening, and more often than not I can see God working through the difficulties. I can feel His hand on me guiding and comforting. I experience His grace and mercy and peace. He gives me wisdom for the situation and encouragement in the trial.

But sometimes it takes longer for me to see. Sometimes I fail to look to God until the situation has passed and I only see the truth through hindsight. I am grateful that hindsight is 20/20. It allows me to see the whole picture, the big picture. It allows me to see exactly where God was using the state of affairs to teach and grow me and it allows me see where He was carrying me through when I felt like I was all alone. It allows me to see the good that God produced from something horrible in my life and made it turn out for the best.

I truly believe that everything that I go through, even the bad experiences, are going to be used by God in moments of my future for the good of myself and/or someone else. I know that every challenge I survive gives me experiential knowledge that I can pass on; it gives me authority over an area of struggle and allows me to stand in the gap for others.

The enemy wants to kill and destroy me, but God redeems and restores everything in my life, using the enemy’s plans to harm me and brings something wonderful out of the ashes of my life.

Yesappa, Thank You.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Isaiah 10, 11, 12; Galatians 5

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.

Galatians 5:1, 13-14, 22-25

I really love delving deep into the Word, especially with passages that I have read over and over. I can easily read the Bible at its surface, which I admit I do a lot, but inevitably a word, a verse, a passage jumps out to me, as if it has been highlighted by God for me in that moment. When that happens, I have to know more, I have to understand the rhema truth hidden in the passage. I have to know why God is pointing it out.

Galatians is one of my favorite books in the Bible, and I have literally read it hundreds of times; sometimes it’s just a surface reading, but more often than not, I find myself doing word studies to gnaw more meat off the bone. Today a word that I have only casually studied before was shown in a new light to me.

This word is freedom. I’ve gone through life thinking I understood what freedom meant. I live in a ‘free’ country. I am a ‘free’ person; I am ‘free’ to be me. The simple definition I’ve always brought away from the word is that freedom is a state of liberty rather than being confined or restrained, like the difference between being in or out of jail. On a basic level, that is what it means, but I am learning that on a heart level it means so much more.

The other day while talking some things out with a friend, God gave me a picture of what freedom really is: FREEDOM=LOVE=FREEDOM=LOVE

FREEDOM=LOVE

In the moment, I took this to heart, but at its face value, intending on asking God for more. When I was able to take a moment to sit alone with Him, I felt lead to look up the etymology, the history of the English word, and as usual I was blow away by His goodness.

The English word ‘freedom’, with the base word being ‘free’ came from the Old English word that meant ‘to free or liberate,’ and also ‘to love, think of lovingly, honor’.

Paul shares that I have been called to freedom; I have been called to a place of complete liberation from slavery to the law. He reminds me that in freedom, I am called to serve others in love; and when I love others, the more freedom flourishes and produces fruit in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Freedom equals love.

Yesappa, Thank You for freedom, and thank You for love. Help me walk more and more in both. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Isaiah 7-9; Galatians 4

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? Galatians 4:8-9

It seems ridiculous that someone who has known the horrendous bondage of slavery would ever want to return to it. In actuality, it isn’t that uncommon. It seems to be human nature to want to turn to what we know versus the unknown, even if the known was an absolutely miserable existence. I think of the Israelites wanting to go back to Egypt and how they chose to fondly remember the leeks and cucumbers as opposed to the sadistic demands of their masters.

Am I really so different? Too easily, I relapse into diehard perfectionist, get-it-right ways. That master has left me wasted and empty. Why is it so difficult to let go and enjoy the benefits of serving the Master of grace? Too often, I am like Ahaz in thinking that God really isn’t that interested and I have to manage things entirely on my own. Through Isaiah, God tells Ahaz to expect something different, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel [God is with us].” Isaiah 7:14.

There is such beauty and freedom in the simplicity of what God is telling me through his Word. Jesus is here right now. He asks me to live with him as my master. It’s my choice. He doesn’t force himself upon me. Do I accept the fact that he bought my life with his and that my life is no longer my own? I live for his pleasure and his purposes.  God help me live that way way today.

Klueh

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2 Samuel 21; Galatians 1; Ezekiel 28; Psalm 77

This letter is from Paul, an apostle.” Galatians 1:1 NLT.

Paul, who was a hater toward and hunter of anyone who followed Christ.

13 You know what I was like when I followed the Jewish religion—how I violently persecuted God’s church. I did my best to destroy it. 14 I was far ahead of my fellow Jews in my zeal for the traditions of my ancestors. Galatians 1:13-14 NLT.

Paul, who would encounter Jesus on a road to Damascus.

11 Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. 12 I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:11-12 NLT.

Paul, whose life did a complete 180 turn, from hater to lover. From hunter to hunted. From Pharisee-know-it-all-judge-and-persecutor to slave and brother in Christ.

 

15 But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him 16 to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles.

Before Paul was born, God had a plan. And he picked a man whose former self would resemble nothing of his new life in Christ. (I’m so glad.)

16b When this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being. 17 Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to consult with those who were apostles before I was. Instead, I went away into Arabia, and later I returned to the city of Damascus. Galatians 1:16b-17 NLT.

Paul spent three years in Arabia, learning from the Holy Spirit.

He spent the rest of his life proclaiming the Gospel.

Lord, I’m thankful for the 180 turn in my life, for your word in my hands so I can learn too, for a brother in Christ like Paul. I’m thankful to study your word and to learn from those who came before–to slow down enough in my day to discover treasures wrapped deep in truth. You are so good. I’m thankful all my lost years are not wasted, and that my story can speak of your grace and power and mercy.

Courtney (66books365)

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