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Archive for June, 2012

Verses 23-24: “but only, they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.” And they were glorifying God because of me.”

Transformation. Whether the act is fictitious, such as Billy Batson turning into Captain Marvel by saying “Shazam!”, or factual, such as a caterpillar becoming a butterfly or a lump of coal turning into a diamond, transformation is always something that is amazing and wondrous.

Here Paul used his own conversion, the transformation that turned the Christian-killing Saul into the missionary preacher of the Gospel named Paul, as part of his witness. The early churches were marveling at this living example of the transforming power of Jesus Christ. Paul would go on to not only use his testimony to further the Gospel, but also to refute his accusers in saying “I am living proof of the Gospel I preach!”

Fellow Christian, are you being living proof of Christ’s transforming power in your life today?

Something to think about.

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Verse 12: “For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”

There was an episode of Spongebob Squarepants once, where he, Patrick, and Squidward were out camping. The subject of seabears came up; Squidward insisted that they were myths, but Patrick and Spongebob kept insisting they were real, to the point that Spongebob stated, “He’s right Squidward, Seabears are all to real. Why once I met this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy’s cousin…” at which point Squidward caves in and agrees just to get Spongebob to stop. (the quote is found at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0832777/quotes ).

Now if you were wanting to believe something that had been experienced by someone, whom would you be more apt to believe: someone who had heard about it eight or nine times down the story-line…or someone who had been there firsthand?

The Judaizers were arguing that the gospel of grace that Paul was teaching was man-made. Paul correctly and definitively states, “I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ”. Paul received it from Jesus Himself, thus validating the Authority of the message. When Christians come to know the Lord, others may introduce us to Him through sermons or personal witnessing…but it’s still a personal invitation to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior into our lives. We don’t have to “hear” about it many times removed. We don’t have to have a high priest or someone to be liaison between us and the Lord. Jesus wants to come into our lives Himself.

Knowing someone personally is much preferable any day to knowing “this guy who knew this guy who knew this guy…”…well, you get the picture!

Have a blessed day in Him!

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Verse 10: “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”

Ever walk down a hallway or a street or even in your own home…you were going somewhere to do something…when you suddenly change direction 180 degrees because you forgot something? Then you took a few steps, realized you didn’t forget something, and pivoted back 180 degrees to your original direction? Then did it again?? I know I have done that, and had people who observed me chuckle at my uncoordinated “dance”. Of course, most of them chuckle, because they have done the exact same thing. The funny sight of all this is the fact that you are trying to go in two different directions at the same time, but your body just can’t do that!

Paul used a similar analogy to disprove his critics of presenting a diluted Gospel (all because Paul wasn’t including “the law” in his teachings). Paul told them he couldn’t serve God and please man. He certainly wasn’t trying to curry favor from the religious leaders…he was serving Jesus Christ. (Oh, that we would all have that attitude today!) Nobody said it better than Jesus Himself when He talked about treasures in Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

So which way are you going today?

Something to think about.

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Greetings, everyone! Hope everyone has been doing well since we finished up Proverbs in April. So now, back to business starting in Galatians.

Verse 1: “Paul, an apostle (not sent from men, nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead),”

Anyone who has been using email, Facebook, Twitter, or any other technological communications has probably seen the scam emails…you know, the ones sent from “Nigerian officials” asking for a small sum of money to help transport larger sums of money for them, with a promise of financial reward? Many times, people have been swindled by these “high ranking officials” by giving them their financial information; unfortunately, all that happens is they wind up being poorer for the experience, literally, as they become the victims of identity theft. Part of the con game here is that these email authors pass themselves off as genuine-sounding figures of authority.

Among the problems Paul was facing in Galatia was an attack by the Judaizers, claiming he was not a genuine apostle. Paul immediately addresses that in his letter’s introduction: he was not sent by men nor by an agency of man. He was sent by the one and only Jesus Christ (God the Son) and God the Father; Paul had personally met Jesus on the Damascus Road. Paul later in the letter continues the rebuttal to the Judaizers’ groundless claims that he was not a genuine apostle.

In this day and age of “is it real or is it fake”, it’s comforting to know that Jesus Christ is the one and only Messiah, who died for our sins and rose again, triumphant over death and sin.

Something to think about today.

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