Archive for August, 2012

Verse 18: “But it is good always to be eagerly sought in a commendable manner, and not only when I am present with you.”

Our pastor focused on a very important topic tonight for churches; how visitors feel welcome. Sometimes, as he pointed out, a visitor can size up in 15 seconds whether he’ll come back to a church or not. This sermon also served to launch a new focus on our greeting committee, and the importance of helping a visitor feel welcome in God’s house. It is nice to be greeted, as well as nice to be missed when one is absent. You can tell when someone is sincerely and enthusiastically glad to see you or glad to welcome you.

Paul had previously been welcomed warmly by the Galatian church and the message he brought was received with zeal. The Judaizers were trying to turn that zeal against him and the message of the Gospel by their “additions”. Paul acknowledges the church’s zeal, but reminds them of where it should be placed and in Whom it should be placed.

That’s the funny thing about being on fire for something; when it catches hold of you, you are said to be truly ablaze, not smoldering. Are you ablaze for Christ?

Something to think about.


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Verse 12, 16: “I beg of you, brethren, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have done me no wrong;” “Have I therefore become your enemy by telling you the truth?”

In an issue of Marvel Team-Up (a comic series that offered usually a one-issue adventure with Spider-Man and a guest star), Spider-Man and Howard the Duck had to team up to defeat a super-villain named Status Quo. This gentleman, bombarded, besieged, and attacked by the fads of the day, took it upon himself to learn Madison Avenue media manipulation techniques and other forms of subliminal suggestion to begin a crusade to destroy all fads and return to “the good old days”. Making his way to New York (via a taxi-cab ride from Howard), Status Quo begins to stir the tired day-shift New Yorkers into a hypnotized frenzy in the park. Spider-Man primarily quells the rioting and then helps Howard, who tries to convince Status Quo that it’s okay for folks to blow off a little steam and enjoy themselves. He accuses Status Quo of being nothing but a “wet blanket”. Seeing the error of his ways, Status Quo reconsiders his crusades, as his formerly convinced, dazed followers go back to their lives.

Paul had another type of “brainwashing” he had to overcome here. He reminds the Galatians that they formerly had welcomed him and received the message of salvation eagerly. Now they were bamboozled by the Judaizers’ speeches that Paul wasn’t a true apostle, and that the salvation he preached was incomplete. He had to cut through the hypnotic hogwash that the Galatians were being fed and remind them again what the truth really was. Pretty words and convincing talk can sometime muddy the waters, especially if the subject of the message seems logical or clear. But be wary; the devil is not stupid and is not called the prince of lies for nothing!

Also remember: Jesus came to upset the status quo of the day, and show all the way to true salvation!

Something to think about.

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Verses 4-5: “But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”

I’m about to tread dangerous waters here, because I’m about to use an analogy…regarding the faithful fans of the University of Alabama. Please bear with me. 🙂

Bill Curry was hired as the football coach at the University of Alabama and coached 3 seasons from 1987-1989 with an overall record of 26-10, including a share of the SEC championship crown in 1989.
Despite this success, a lot of Bama fans were not happy with Bill Curry: there were the 3 consecutive losses to arch-rival Auburn; the 1988 “Hurricane Bowl” in which Alabama played Texas A&M at the end of the season instead of earlier due to the threat of Hurricane Gilbert (which wound up not coming through College Station, TX), supposedly prompting then-coach Jackie Sherrill to claim that “Bear [Bryant] would have flown out here [despite the weather threat]”; and receiving a contract renewal that also supposedly stripped him of hiring/firing abilities for assistant coaches. He then went on to take the head coaching job at the University of Kentucky. The next coach to follow him at UA was Gene Stallings, a former player and coach under Bear Bryant.

A lot of talk circulated among newspapers and sports shows as to the why, but there was a common theme: Curry came to UA from Georgia Tech. He never played for Bear Bryant. He never coached for Bear Bryant. He was considered an outsider, not one of “Bear’s men”.

As Christians, we are to aspire to be more like Jesus Christ. “But that’s impossible” some might say, “Jesus is God!” Yes, He is. At the time He walked the earth, He was fully God and fully man. He was a human being like you and me, but He did not sin. He encountered all the temptations that we go through; all the joys and despairs that we encounter too. That’s part of the beauty of His perfect sacrifice and saving grace. He wasn’t an outsider God…He walked among us!

Something to think about!

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Verse 27: “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

On one of our Carpenters for Christ missions not too many years ago, we had some trouble with the showers where we were staying. Our host allowed some of us to use the local showers at the high school that day. After a hot day working, sweating all day long, we all eagerly and quickly grabbed shower stuff to hitch a ride on the truck going to the high school. Man, that hot shower felt good! (the problem with our showers where we were staying? Well, they had two temperatures: Arctic and Antarctic…oh, they were cold!)

Well, after the shower, I made a sad realization; although I took enough time to grab clean towels, clean washrag, and clean underwear, I forgot to grab a clean t-shirt and shorts! So, after the shower, I had to ride back to where we were staying in the same sweaty, stinky jeans and shirt I had peeled off earlier! Ugh, you can imagine how it felt to be clean and put on dirty clothes!

Yet, that’s what we do spiritually when we accept Christ and try to live in our old sinful ways. It’s akin to being baptized in Christ (the shower and His robes) and trying to put on our old self (the dirty clothes). The more we live for Christ and die to self, the more we reject trying to put on those old dirty clothes.

Make sure each day, you pray and ask Jesus to forgive your sins, and to try to live for Him and die to self. Best shower you’ll ever take!

Have a blessed day in Him!

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Verses 23-25: “But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.”

The above verse can be somewhat confusing, seeing as how most of us identify the term “tutor”. We see a tutor as a teacher, but the Greek text (according to concordance and Bible footnotes) in the verse here really translates as an attendant, a custodian, or (in its truest sense) a guardian nanny. The King James translation is even more descriptive: a schoolmaster! In Jewish culture, children had an assigned slave to make sure they got to school and to assist in supervising them. Make no mistake, if the child misbehaved, this “tutor” would point out the law, lay down the law, and administer punishment!

The Mosaic law served this function, but once Jesus came and brought salvation through faith in Him, a “tutor” was no longer necessary. We now had a real Teacher. In fact, if you’ll recall any of the Gospel accounts, that’s what a lot of people addressed Jesus as…Teacher.

So which do you prefer: a strict nanny or a good Teacher?

Something to think about.

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Verse 16: “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.”
Verse 19: “Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made.”

In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy is attempting to pass through the 3 tests to find the Holy Grail, needing it to save his father (who is dying). Using his father’s Grail diary, he figures out 2 of the tests and arrives at the last one: an impassible chasm. The diary shows a traveler walking across to the other side. “Impossible.” Indy thinks, “nobody could jump this.” Indy realizes that the physical laws, such as gravity, state there’s no way to clear such a span. Hearing his friends urge him on because his father is dying, Indy concludes “it’s a leap of faith”; at the same time, his father mutters, “you must believe, boy, you must believe.” Putting his trust in the faith that there is a way across, Indy takes a deep breath and steps out into nothing, only to land…onto a rock bridge! By taking that faithful step, Indy discovers that there IS a bridge across the chasm…so perfectly camouflaged against the rock and cliffs that the naked eye couldn’t see it.

Paul explains that there was a purpose to the law: to describe the perfect standard and to show how we fall short of it, to dictate the punishments for not living up to it. (Holman Concordance on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, page 38) But the law didn’t save; the law was only temporary. Only when the promise came in the form of Jesus Christ was there a way to clear the span that separated us from our Heavenly Father…the chasm that we couldn’t cross through the law. It’s a leap of faith…faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Something to think about.

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