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Archive for November, 2012

Verse 17: “From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.”

Earlier in this study of Galatians, I made several observations on Paul’s arguments against his Judaizer accusers. He used countless types of arguments to wonderful effect; he reminded me of an ace pitcher with a mastery of several types of pitches in his arsenal.

Paul’s final argument, indeed the next to last verse in the book, is to testify to the very marks on his body he has physically suffered for his faith in Jesus. In reading the Holman Concordance on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians (page 81), Paul offered these marks as his final credentials of his apostleship. “These marks are Paul’s way of saying, “[Hear] me well. I’ve earned the right to be heard, respected, and obeyed.”” Case closed.

Sometimes in life, we ask for God’s help in dealing with stresses in our family life, our personal life, or our work life (for me, work has been very stressful this year). There are times Jesus gently reminds me that He knows what I’m going through…He bore the marks for me, so that I wouldn’t have to…therefore, what can man do to me?

This concludes the study on Galatians. I’m going to take a small hiatus for the Christmas season; we’ll pick back up with Ephesians at the beginning of the new year. May you all have a blessed Christmas, and remember the real Reason for the season!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Verses 8-9: “for the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.”

Some of the books I have kept from my childhood and shared with our children and others have to do with the adventures of Josh McBroom and his family and their wonderful one-acre farm, whose soil was so rich, you could grow anything in it in no time flat (The McBroom stories were authored by Sid Fleischman…a lot of them are out of print, but you can probably find them in libraries). Anyway, the soil was so rich, that besides garden vegetables growing to miraculous sizes, ordinary things would grow too (like tacks into nails, marbles into boulders, and so forth). The farm had been a boggy pond that dried up over time and was nitrogen rich.

The person who inadvertently sold them this farm was Hector “Heck” Jones, whose farm was pitiful; he was always scheming to get the land back from McBroom. One night he spread out a bunch of weed seed, which resulted in the whole McBroom family and friends battling weeds for a time, just to clear the ground of them. Don’t worry, Jones got his comeuppance in “McBroom Tells the Truth” (copyright 1966 by Fleischman).

The illustration here was that whatever was planted grew incredibly big and fast, whether it be vegetables or weeds. The passage today, in contrast, refers to what is sown. As human beings, we are constantly sowing seeds…if you sow seeds in the material things of this world, don’t expect anything short of corruption in the long run. Sowing in the Holy Spirit, in God’s direction, will yield a bounty like none that Josh McBroom could’ve gotten from his farm. So what are you planting today?

Something to think about.

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Verse 1: “Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.”

Back in my football officiating days, a veteran referee told the tale of how you can sometimes preventively officiate without having to use your whistle and flag. He was working a junior high game in a line judge role, and saw a linebacker increasingly getting into “extra-curricular” pushing and shoving after the whistle. He knew ahead of time that this kid was a stellar, outstanding student, and probably was getting caught up in the game. So, during the end of a pass play, he barked out his number to get his attention, and said, “Son, cut that out! You’re a better ball-player than that and you know it!” The young man mulled it over a second, apologized to the official, and straightened up the rest of the game. He played well, and didn’t get a flag thrown on him, because my friend called it to his attention before he would have had to reign him in with a penalty. He did with it a gentle reprimand as opposed to the harsh, public scolding a flag and penalty would’ve given. (It should be noted that this doesn’t always work on every kid, but the referee was trying to point out to try this where you could.)

Paul was giving similar advice. We all sin…and sometimes we have a fellow Christian “call us out” on it…but that should be done privately, in Christ-like love and compassion. Only if the brother has hardened his heart to the rebuke do we then escalate the reprimand (and the Bible speaks as to how to do this). Sometimes an instant public “look what he did!” can do more harm than good. Our goal as a fellow Christian is to restore our brother…keep him in the game, as it were, not see him get kicked out.

Something to think about.

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