Friday, October 31, 2014


Galations 6:1-5          Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.

It is problematic for someone to see another Christian sin. There exists a temptation for us when this happens. We want to judge them because we had set them higher on the spiritual scale than they deserved. No man can fully live life without sinning.

Someone who is in our mind a wonderful witness for Christ is held in high regard. We expect much from them. Sometimes we expect too much. When they fall we are shocked. They fall far down from the pedestal we had set them on. The temptation is not to commit their sin but to pass judgment on them.

Someone else not set up on such a high pedestal will not fall very far. This Christian is dismissed as a poor witness or we might even say they were never a Christian to begin with. The temptation to judge is still present.

Carry their burden when they sin. The pedestal we have placed them on is irrelevant. The burden of their sorrow and grief for having sinned become evident in them. We are to carry this in our own heart, next to the burden of sorrow and grief for the sins we have committed ourselves. We are no different to other Christians in this regard. For all of us sin and fall short of God’s standards.

We are deceivers at times because we are sinners all the time. We deceive others and ourselves by our sinfulness. We think we are above the sin of others or all sin. Test your heart and see if you can accept the sinfulness of others as you accept your own sinfulness. Love others as you love yourself. In this way you carry your own load and the load of others.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Galatians 5:22-26      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.

After two years of marriage, Pete no longer saw his wife as interesting, fun, or attractive. In his mind, he regarded her as a sloppy housekeeper, overweight, and a woman with a faultfinding personality.

He sought out a divorce attorney, who advised him: “Pete, if you really want to get even with your wife, start treating her like a queen! Do everything in your power to serve her, please her, and make her feel special. Then after a couple of months of this royal treatment, pack your bags and leave. That way you’ll disappoint her as much as she has disappointed you.”

Pete could hardly wait to enact the plan! He picked up a dozen roses on his way home, helped his wife with the dinner dishes, brought her breakfast in bed, and began complimenting her on her clothes, cooking, and housekeeping. He treated her to an out-of-town trip.

After three months, the attorney called Pete and said, “Well, I have the divorce papers ready for you to sign, In a matter of minutes, you can be a happy bachelor.”

“Are you crazy?” Pete replied. “My wife has made so many changes. I wouldn’t think of divorcing her now.”

Kindness extended toward another person may not change the other person, but iT does change the person showing kindness…it makes them kinder. Kindness is the oil that takes the friction out of life.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Galatians 5:1,7-9       For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery... You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

Grace literally means that which we do not have to earn. It has two great aspects to it. It comes for nothing, for no cost to you. And it comes when we are helpless and least expecting it.

Grace does not merely help the person who helps himself. That is not the Gospel. That is not grace. The Gospel is that God helps the man or woman who cannot help themselves. Grace is for those who do not deserve it. If you deserve something and you get it, that is not grace.

Then there is another thing about grace. God helps the person to help himself. Everything the man accomplishes comes from God. Grace is given to the man who is so weak and helpless he cannot take the first step. That is the meaning of grace.

We can never know the fullness grace has. A river is as free as it is full. Someone floating down the river may have an idea that when they get a little farther along they have got to pay a toll to go further on. So instead of going all the way down the river they shrink back. They never get to see and experience the beauty of the river further downstream.

The blessings we receive from God’s grace to not stop at our conversion. They continue as we continue to live in Christ. Shrinking back from trust in God each day blocks us from receiving more that God has intended for us. God has not set aside the other blessings for a special group of Christians. They are available to all His people. God is no respecter of persons. What He offers to the least of these brothers, He offers to you and to me. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Galatians 4:18-19      It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!

It is a blessed moment when we are born again and a new heart is created in us after the image of God. It is a more blessed moment when, in this new heart, Christ Himself is born and the Christmas time is reproduced in us as we, in some real sense, become incarnations of the living Christ.

This is the deepest and holiest meaning of Christianity. It is expressed in Paul’s prayer for the Galatians: “My little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.”

There will come on day a more glorious time when we, like Him, will be transformed and transfigured into His glory, and in the resurrection we will be, in spirit, soul, and body, like Him.

The call from God for us is to be led by the Spirit’s power to be incarnations of Christ. This is to be living the Christ-life, not our life. In a Christ-life we reveal Him in our daily actions and speech. When praised for our actions we redirect them to God and acknowledge that He has brought out of us the goodness that He alone is. Our life becomes to others a re-living of the life Christ lived when He walked among us. 

Monday, October 27, 2014


Galatians 4:11-12, 15            I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain. Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong….What then has become of your blessedness?

The new believer is filled with joy at knowing Christ as Lord and Savior. The Spirit brings life and relief to the troubled sour of men. Paul’s preaching of the Gospel was effective in bringing many to Christ.

The work of the Spirit brought freedom to the new converts. No longer did they need to work to appease their god, who is no god at all. No longer did they need to wonder if their god knew them and was pleased with their efforts to please him.

They had been performing works righteousness. They had been trying to earn God’s approval of them. You attend meetings, and services without failing. You give of your possessions to prescribed measures. You volunteer a prescribed number of hours at the soup kitchen. As you labor to earn god’s approval, you are observed and measured by others who have earned their salvation. Your devotion and spirituality is measured by the effort you make to do all these things. When you fail along the way, you do not receive praise but criticism for not measuring up fully. You can be found unworthy for not meeting the standards of others. You are less spiritual than those who measure your progress.

Where is the joy the Galatians once had? They exchanged it for a guilt ridden system of measures to appease their god and other people. There is no joy in such a system or religion. Who can ever perfectly measure up to any standard each day of your life? No one, no joy.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Galatians 4:8-10        Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and months and seasons and years!

Sunday is a new and joyous day each week. It is the beginning of our week, the day we first give thanks to God. There are some people within the Church who would try to make Sunday into a sober and serious day that it was never intended to be. They abandon the idea of Sunday being a day of Celebration. Their misguided efforts make Sunday a copy of the Jewish Sabbath with all its formalities, restrictions and rules. They call for us to Observe the rituals of a Sunday Sabbath. According to the New Testament, this is a fall from grace into law. The slope causes us to slide into the bondage of observing days, months, seasons that were never intended.

In Psalm 118:20-24 we read:
This is the gate of the Lord;
    the righteous shall enter through it.
I thank you that you have answered me
    and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone.
This is the Lord's doing;
    it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.

There is a difference between the Saturday worship on the Jewish Sabbath and the Sunday worship by Christians. God never intended that the observance of the Jewish Sabbath would go on forever. It would end with the ending of the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament. It ends with the coming of His Son, Jesus Christ, who fulfills the Law. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Galatians 4:3-6          But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

God’s plan for our lives will not be undone. Not by us, other people or Satan. Because of sin, people are blind to their spiritual need. They are deaf to the Word taught or preached. This blindness and deafness leaves them enslaved to a life apart from God. Being apart from God they live by their own light which is only darkness.

When the time is right God brings his Holy Spirit into our lives. He does this while we are still sinners, apart from Him in our thinking and living. God knows his children before they are aware of Him. They are like a 6 month old child in their awareness of his parents. They see, feel and speak but do not fully understand their surroundings. Others provide for them and they are satisfied. Although they are not fully aware of their father or mother, their parents are fully aware of them. They direct good things into their lives in order that they may live and develop further.

The Holy Spirit begins the work of awakening our spirit to see and know the Father. In time, we grow to be able to speak in prayer and see His presence in our lives. Confessing Jesus, His Son, as our Lord we acknowledge our awareness and need for Him. The human is born again by the work of God’s Holy Spirit. His spiritual life continues to grow in obedience to God’s revealed will in Scripture. We have been adopted by God the Father.

Friday, October 24, 2014


Galatians 3:26-29      In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.

Jesus is the only person who can draw us together. We Christians do not come from only one walk of life. We do not come together by a common culture that we hold or by our life backgrounds. We all do not come from one race, as if we could be united ethnically. We are not even all of one nation or sex or intellectual attainment or status. All the causes for the divisions and conflict in the world exist in the Christian Church.

But there is a difference between the diversity of the Church and the diversity in the world. Within the Church and for each of us as Christians these divisions and differences simply cease to matter. We are no longer seen as different or diverse. We are one. The reason for this is Jesus Christ. He has gathered all of us to himself, he is the bridge to our commonality.

In the small book of the New Testament, Philemon, we find Paul bringing this principle to a common life situation. Paul writes this letter while imprisoned in Rome, to Philemon, a slave holder, who is a fellow believer in Christ. While in Rome, Onesimus (Philemon’s runaway slave) met up with Paul. The meeting enabled Onesimus to become a believer in Christ. Paul then sends him back to Philemon. Paul explains that “this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother…both in the flesh and in the Lord.” (vs.15-16).

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Galatians 3:19-24      Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made... Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

I know that the thought of sin is distasteful to some people. Sin is not a “politically correct” term to use in America today. Sin is unpopular to the point that Christians are criticized for dwelling too much on it.

Christians do not dwell on sin because they love sin. We talk about sin because we are realists. Sin is our nature and the cause of all our troubles. Sin is recognized as an everyday experience and our number one challenge. Besides, the Bible everywhere teaches us that it is the biggest problem facing mankind.

Every day of our lives we are faced with being obedient to the ruling authorities in our lives. Ruling Authorities can be used to label: roadway speed limits, traffic lights, teachers in school, bosses at work, mothers and fathers, and the list goes on. But try living a day without going over the speed limit. I bet you can’t. Have you ever told a “white lie”? It’s still a lie, no matter the color. Young man, go to a crowded beach on a hot August day and do not sin. Ladies go to the mall clothing stores and spend the day without buying a pair of shoes, dress, blouse or necklace. Then tell me how great a day you had.

Sin is always crouching at the door, waiting for us to let it in. Christians struggle with the temptations the world offers and rightly so. If you never struggle with temptation then you are not living realistically. Be mindful of the practice of doing and speaking without any forethought. In prayerfulness, think before you live.  Let your faith and trust in God lead you moment by moment. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Galatians 3:15-17      To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

The purpose of the Bible is to point people to Jesus Christ. But how does it point to Him? Some people think the Bible is mostly history. In the Old Testament Jesus is never mentioned. How can it be pointing us to Jesus Christ? How is Jesus the subject of the entire Bible when he is not mentioned by name in the Old Testament?

Jesus becomes the subject of the Old Testament in two ways. First he is the subject by fitting in with its general themes. Secondly, he is found in the fulfilling of specific prophecies that are found in the Old Testament. Jesus becomes the subject of the New Testament in a more obvious way. It tells His story and is most exclusively about Him. The information provided is sufficient for our understanding of Him, his mission and the future work of Christ for us.

The great themes of the Old Testament are many. Creation mentions how God created the world and chose to make mankind in His image. No sooner were they created that they fall into sin by disobeying God. Instead of humility and gratitude in dependence on Him, they chose to rebel and live as they chose. The result was sin and death for the human race. Yet God leaves the door open for their reconciliation in the future.

The rest of the Old Testament reveals the unfolding consequences of mankind’s sin and God’s plan of redemption. In time God chooses a people to be His chosen nation, Israel. To them he promises blessings for their obedience and continued turmoil for their disobedience. The truth of man’s sin and need is explained throughout the Bible not simply for the sake of telling us a truth but rather to point us forward to the solution to our problem as a fallen race. The solution being Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Galatians 3:10-14      For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” …the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

If Jesus is to regenerate me, what is the problem He is up against? I have a heredity I had no say in; I am not holy nor likely to be holy by my own efforts. If all Jesus Christ can do is to tell me I must be holy, His teaching plants despair in me.

But Jesus Christ is a Regenerator, the One who can put into me His own holiness. Now I can begin to understand what He means when He says that I must by holy. Redemption means that Jesus Christ can put into any person a disposition that is already in Himself. His standards for me are based on His disposition, His nature. His teachings are for the life He puts in me. The moral work on my part is to be in agreement with God’s verdict on sin in the Cross of Jesus Christ.

The New Testament teaching about regeneration is that when a man is struck by a sense of need, God will put the Holy Spirit into his spirit, and his personal spirit will be transformed by the Spirit of Christ. The moral miracle of redemption is that God can put into me the new disposition from which I can live a life pleasing to Him.

Just as the disposition of sin entered into the human race by one man, Adam, so now the Holy Spirit entered the human race by another God-Man, Jesus Christ. Redemption means that I can be delivered from the sin I have in me and through Jesus Christ I can receive a new nature from His Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Galatians 3:6-9          Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

The story of our redemption begins with a Gentile. In Genesis we read that Abraham lived in the city of Ur of the nation Chaldea. He was not a Jew nor an Israelite because he lived before God established his people as a nation.

Paul draws on this fact many times in this letter. This is because the people he was working with, the Galatians, were also non-Jews, non-Israelites. He is adamant about this issue because the Jews who opposed Paul were teaching the Galatians that they needed to become Jews and obedient to the Law of Moses. Then they could become Christians.

The relevance today is that many of the people we minister to have never been in a church. They have no religion or have an eclectic religious belief or practice. So like the Galatians, they are coming to Christ before they become a Christian. They cannot attend church functions, practice Christian principles and mimic other Christians in order to become a Christian. They must accept Christ before they become a Christian.

Christianity is about a relationship, not about a set of practices that make you a part of God’s people, the Church. The danger of teaching them obedience without faith in the One who is able to enable their true obedience to Christ. Let no one put the cart before the horse. If you confess Christ as your Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved from the eternal punishment for your sins. This confirms the Holy Spirits presence in your life. God makes you a Christian.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Galatians 3:1-3    Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?

If they were completely honest, many people would have to admit that God is to them an almost entirely negative force in their lives. It is not merely that He provides that “gentle voice we hear…which checks each fault,” but that His whole Nature seems to deny, to cramp and inhibit their own. Though such people would never admit it, they are living endorsements of Swinburne’s bitter lines:

Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean,
The world has grown grey from Thy breath.

Compared with their non-Christian contemporaries their lives seem to have less life and color, less spontaneity and less confidence. Their god surrounds them with prohibitions but he does not supply them with vitality and courage. They may live under the shadow of his hand but it makes them stunted, pale and weak. Although the thought would appear blasphemous to his devotees, such a god is quite literally a blight upon human life, and no one can be surprised that he fails to attract the loyalty of those with spirit, independence, and a keen enjoyment of the color and richness of life.

The words written above are a plan exposure of a false god, but of course the unhappy worshippers never see their bondage as clearly as that or they would break away. They are bound to their negative god by upbringing, by the traditions of a Church or party, by the manipulation of isolated texts of Scripture or by a morbid conscience. At last they actually feel that it is wrong to be themselves, wrong to be free, wrong to enjoy beauty, wrong to expand and develop. Unless they have their god’s permission they can do nothing.

 Your God Is Too Small, By J. B. Phillips, pgs. 50-51.

Monday, October 13, 2014


Galatians 2:19-21      For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

A Christian life is in harmony with our nature, with who God created us to be.

A woman who was thoughtful and intelligent and not a Christian, but who had the deepest interest for truth and that which is right, asked: “How can this be that Christ lives in me when I have died? If this is true, don’t I lose my individuality? This could only destroy my personality, and it violates our responsibility as individuals.”

The answer to such an inquiry is that your personality is only half of what it should be without Christ. Christ was made for you, and you were made for Christ. Until you meet Him, you are not complete. You need Him to become the full person that God intends you to be.

Imagine a gas line going into a stove. Suppose the gas says that if I unite with the pilot light” then I will lose my individuality. But the truth is that when the gas meets the fame it becomes what it was intended to be. Only when combined does the gas fulfill its very purpose for being.

Suppose a snowflake says it will not fall to the ground because it will lose its unique individual nature. The truth is that when it falls to the ground it becomes what God intended, the nourishment for grass, river life and flowers. Unless it unites with the ground it, too, will not fulfill its purpose.

When a person comes to Christ he or she will gain more than what they might think they will lose. It is God’s plan for you that you be lost in Christ in order to be found by God and fulfill your life purpose for His glory.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Galatians 2:15-16      We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

The “works of the Law” are many. They comprise the commandments found in the first five books of the Old Testament. In Leviticus you will find detailed instructions on how to live your daily life, discipline children, moral codes of conduct, how to live good civic lives and more. Worship was guided by rules outlining the types of animals required for sacrifice in order for sin to be atoned, and special days of worship.

Several years ago a young woman came to me wanting to be married to a young man whom I had not yet met. I arranged for us to get together and in the course of the resulting conversation discovered that neither the young woman nor the young man were Christians.

The man was quite open about it and regarded the church service as merely a public ceremony. The young woman thought she was a Christian, largely because she had come from a family of churchgoers and had been baptized in her infancy by a bishop. When I pointed out that baptism never made anyone a Christian this woman was greatly offended. She was even more offended when later I declined to perform the ceremony.

The Church has specific practices for worship and guidelines for living in ways that will please our God. Much of what we find in the New Testament begins with the teaching that our inner heart and mind are first transformed by the Holy Spirit. As a result, our lives begin to reflect a life of obedience to God through the practice of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Never think that you can put the practice of obedience before the inner transformation that enables our obedience. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Galatians 2:14            But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

Let me re-frame Paul’s words to Cephas (Peter). “If you, though a Christian, live like a Pagan and not like a Christian, how can you force the Pagans to live like Christians?” It makes more sense now, doesn’t it?

No one likes to be told they are wrong. Men, especially, bristle at a rebuke by others. Married men think they always know more than their wife. When a child corrects an adult, watch how fast the adult gives some lame reason for their actions or words. Confrontation is not easy for people.

As Christians we are free from the need to prove our worthiness to God. Christians are already acceptable to God because He has sent his Holy Spirit into us. We have been bought for a price, Christ Jesus. The Cross of Christ is the event that we believe has been offered to us as a gift. We receive His work on our behalf through faith. We are acceptable to God through faith in Jesus Christ. We are free to follow Him.

Such a freedom has its dangers. Many Christians believe that this freedom permits them to do and say anything they want. We are not free to continue to live as sinners. We are free to choose to live a life that is pleasing to God. In prayer and with biblical obedience we can live to God’s glory. 

Friday, October 10, 2014


Galatians 2:7-9          On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised… they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

Mission work is directed towards people, not nations. Paul and Peter were focused on a specific group of people. The Jews of their day were scattered throughout the known world. The “circumcised” is their way of identifying the Jews. The term “gentile” refers to all people who were not of the Jewish faith. Although we speak of sending missionaries to specific countries, we are really speaking of sending missionaries to specific groups of people. Culture and ethnicity vary within countries.

The work of missions is to share the good news of Jesus Christ. The Gospel message is one of forgiveness of sins from the sacrificial death of Christ and his resurrection is proof of this reality. Such a ministry has been entrusted to each Christian. All of us are equipped by our faith in Christ to share the gospel. Many people seem shocked by this, but it is God’s plan for His people. Because God has done a good work in us by gifting us with faith we are to share this with the world around us.

Ministry is confirmed for each of us by other believers. There are no “lone rangers” when it comes to our work of sharing the gospel. The Church exists to confirm the faith and the work of the Holy Spirit in us. Paul went to the Church and they confirmed his faith and affirmed his God given desire to share the Good News with the gentile people of his day.

Accountability for the believer is integral to being called by God and sent by the Church. Without such oversight, the message and the messenger may be false. As ministers of the Gospel, ambassadors for Christ, we will be held to a higher degree of accountability by God and by His Church. May you find both the Church and the Holy Spirit giving you confirmation of your ministry to the least and the lost among us.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


Galatians 2:3-5    But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery—to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

It is a dangerous thing for us to replace the work of Christ on Calvary with any other requirement for acceptance by God. In Christ alone are we found in favor by God. Through faith in Him and the completed work of the atonement is God accepting of us.

The ministry of Christ among the Pharisees, scribes and teachers of the law was to refute the legalism they promoted. While keeping the Law of Moses was commanded, it don’t bring a change in the heart of the individual. Obedience reflected an inner change that presented itself in the person through love, patience, humility and devotion to Christ. Jesus knew that no man or woman could ever fulfill the Law’s meticulous requirements. If it could be completely fulfilled by a person, then Christ the Savior would not have been needed.

Paul, himself an expert in the Law, knew this central teaching of Christ. He accepted this truth because of the Holy Spirit’s work in his mind and heart. He was struck blind by the truth in order that it might be shared with Gentiles, people like you and me.

Today, the Christian is free when his or her entire life is cloaked in faith and trust in Jesus. Anything more in terms of devotion or obedience is adding to what Christ has already done for us. Such additional teachings in fact rob us of the freedom that Christ brings to the one once enslaved to the law of Moses or the law of this world.

Enjoy your freedom in Christ. There is no greater freedom than to be in submission and living in obedience and devotion to Him. He loves You.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Galatians 1:18-24      Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother… Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me.

Praying for our enemies is a difficult practice. They are the last people we think about praying for. Those who persecute us for any reason are those who need to know Christ, too. When we try to respond to these people with calm and rational words, they seem to get even more hostile. But prayer is our only weapon when all else fails. When we cannot orchestrate the right situation or change the mind of a person, prayer is our best response.

Prayer is a process. It takes effort on our part to take time to pray. Finding a solitary place and getting our thoughts cleared for a time of focus on God is not easy. Yet Jesus says to pray. It is the best tool or weapon we have at our disposal each day. Prayer helps us be mindful of God’s presence and His power to help us in our times of need.

People are changed by prayer, not by us. It may take years of praying to bring about change in a person. God hears all our prayers and responds. His answer is always yes, no or not yet. Never give up on praying for others. You may be the only person praying for them. Your intercession will be heard and honored by God.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Galatians 1: 15-18     But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem.

The call of God is not a call to any particular service. My interpretation of it may be because contact with the nature of God has made me realize what I would like to do for Him. The call of God is essentially expressive of His nature, not mine. Service is the outcome of what is fitted to my new nature. The vocation of the natural life is stated by the apostle Paul, when he says that “it pleased God to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles."

Service is the overflow of super-abounding devotion to Christ. There is no direct call to that service. Service is my own response. It is an echo of my having heard His voice, as spoken to Isaiah, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” (6:7) God brings me into a relationship with Himself whereby I understand His call. Then I do things out of sheer love for Him on my own.

To serve God is a deliberate choice, my love-gift to Him. Service is an expression of my new nature in Christ. The Son of God reveals Himself in me, and I serve Him in the ordinary ways of life out of devotion to Him.

Monday, October 6, 2014


Galatians 1:13-14      For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.

The Apostle Paul was not always a believer in Christ. Before Christ came to him, Paul was a Pharisee among the Jewish community. He was adamant in his opposition to the Christian movement that threatened his Jewish community. He was unimpressed by the teaching presented by the early Christians. They would never break his commitment to the Law and his Traditions. Only God would break into his life and bring the needed change.

As laborers for God we need to make room for Him in our life. He needs room in our day, our mind, our activities and our words. God wants to continue preparing us for the work of service he has called us to. We get so busy making plans, fulfilling appointments, tending to our needs and those of others. Yet all the while we are not mindful of  “scheduling” God into our day.

Would any of us be surprised if God came into our meeting or into our preaching in a way we had never looked for Him to come? Do not look for God to come in any particular way, but look for Him!

That is the way to make room for Him. Expect Him to come, but do not expect Him only in a certain way. However much we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that at any moment He may break in. We are apt to overlook this element of surprise, but God never works in any other way. His schedule is not our schedule. All of a sudden God entered into Paul’s life.

Keep your life so constant in its contact with God that His surprising power may break out on the right hand and on the left. Always be in a state of expectancy, and see that you leave room for God to come in as He likes.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Galatians 1:11-12      For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

When asked how that I know I am a Christian I usually respond by saying: “I know what I know. I am forgiven and now a child of God’s. I just know.”  I saw no vision, like Paul, when I became a Christian. I sat for several years listening to the sermons of an evangelistic pastor. The longer I listened the more I grew to believe what he was teaching. The Bible began to make sense.

As the weeks went by something else began to bother me. From Monday through Saturday my life was far different than on Sunday. I came and went from home or work believing and doing things that circumstances dictated. Although I believed and gave ascent to the pastor’s Sunday message, the life I lived during the week was not close to reflecting what he taught. Why was this, I wondered.

Before Paul became a Christian he actually lived a life that ensured Christians were persecuted and even executed for their beliefs. He was an educated Jew, a teacher and leader in the synagogues of his day. He was a Pharisee. His life reflected nothing of the truth of faith in Jesus Christ. For him, Christianity was a threat to him, his people and the Jewish nation.

Paul and I shared a common fact. Something changed in our lives. Our minds were stopped dead in our tracks and things changed. No longer did our lives continue as they once were. Jesus Christ became the center of our lives, our teaching and our future. A relationship was born that continues to this day. I know this to be true. I just know.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Galatians 1:10            For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a slave of Christ.

Paul now turns to the topic of defending his right to preach the gospel of grace and Christian liberty. Those who opposed his ministry were claiming that Paul was sacrificing the truth of the Old Testament in order to persuade the unbelieving Gentiles to his way of thinking. Some went so far as to claim that he was softening the truth of the Mosaic Laws in order to make it easier for Gentiles to believe in God.

All Christians know a time in their lives when they sought the praise of other people. We call them “people pleasers”. In our Christian journey, too, we have all come across those believers who seemed to measure our Christian standing by the number of times we attended church or by how much we tithed or where we went on mission trips. Such standards are a meaningless way to gauge someone’s standing before God. All it measures is our standing before men. Our sins remain and our sinfulness persists.

The truth is that our obedience to the law, Mosaic or otherwise, does not earn us any measure of favor or forgiveness for our sin. Belief in Jesus Christ is the only way ordained by God the Father for us to be forgiven. Renewal for our sinfulness comes when the Holy Spirit is sent by Christ to indwell the true believer. Then, and only then, do we know we are forgiven and can then begin to walk in the light of His truth and faithfully follow Jesus Christ.

Friday, October 3, 2014


Galatians 1:7  …turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.  

I am guilty of changing my mind often. At my ministry office at Jericho Road, it is common occurrence for me to weigh the circumstances, needs and resources available for a course of action and I make a decision. We then move forward based on the facts and the mission goals. A few hours or days later I have to change my mind. Circumstances have changed and a slightly different decision needs to be made.

Such is the case frequently here at the Mission. The staff and I joke that if an new hire cannot handle “change” they won’t last long at Jericho Road. But what may seem like random and erratic decision making is really an ongoing attempt to stay on the right path. Although circumstances and resources may change, our Mission never changes. And to achieve the goal of this ministry then change in an inherent danger we face daily.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ never changes. God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to us. And for those who place their trust and faith for eternity in His work on the Cross of Calvary, then all will work out well in the end. This truth never changes. But life circumstances do.

Those who would distort the truth of Jesus Christ are making changes that “they” want. God has not called them to make those changes to the basic principles of Scripture. Beware of changing the Mission, the truth that Christ calls us to. But never be afraid to change your mind if it is so you remain firmly grounded in His path and plan for your life or ministry.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Galatians 1:6              I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel.

The book of Galatians has a relevant message for modern man. With all the religions of the world, which is the one to be chosen? No matter the choice, the adherent is beholding to that religion’s system of laws and practices that will earn them their way into the great eternity beyond. Without the proper effort and good works, no one will reach that desired place. What is the modern man to do?

Disturbing news had reached Paul from the Galatian church. The message he had formerly taught the people there about faith in Jesus Christ was now being abandoned by the people. False teachers had come and begun teaching a different message. Their “gospel” included information about Jesus but was supplemented with the need to maintain the Mosaic Law. In other words, faith in Christ alone was insufficient for the Christian to please God and to enter into heaven. Included in their teaching was the need for all men to be circumcised as a requirement for being seen as a child of God. The other ritual laws of the Old Testament teachings were included in their instruction.

You and I cannot earn our way into heaven. Anything short of faith in Christ is a gospel different than what is taught in the New Testament. Whether you attempt to abstain from this, only choose that, be nice to certain people, give food to the hungry, you will still fall short. None of us can live a perfect loving, caring and giving life. So what is the modern man or woman to do?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Galatians 1:3-5   Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Galatians teaches us that Jesus Christ fulfilled the law and provided the means of salvation for those who believe in Him. Through the ministry of his Holy Spirit He resides within us. The Holy Spirit supplies the believer with the kind of power needed to live the Christian life.

Paul’s letter is relevant today because it attacks the unchanged desire of men and women to achieve their salvation by their own efforts. From the days of Paul until now, Christians have the tendency to live their Christian life by their own power and strength. This effort becomes legalistic in that we measure our faith by the many things we are capable of obeying. Such effort on our part can be inconsistent, leading to feelings of failure or disappointment.

The world in which we live today is not much different than in Paul’s day. The immorality and lawlessness displayed in our culture was present in his day, too. Paul’s teaching is a reminder that our freedom in Christ is not found in lawlessness or unbridled living. Our freedom is realized in trusting that Christ has opened the door for us to have an individual relationship with our Heavenly Father. Because of Christ’s effort we are accepted by God the Father. Nothing more is to be earned by us.

The world will continue to hold you accountable to their standards as they related to our eternal destiny. But such people are mistaken because they do not rely on Christ alone for their salvation. Christians know their flaws and know the Holy Spirit is working in them to overcome the day’s temptations and trials. You have overcome this present evil age by faithfully trusting in Jesus Christ alone for your eternal destiny. Rejoice in Him.

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