Archive for the ‘Galatians’ Category

A more evolved version doesn’t change the nature of the beast

March 15th, 2014 by Maureen

It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God. Gal. 6:15-16

The Jews thought change happened through a physical act, a ceremony, or spiritual discipline called circumcision. Do we still try to help Jesus out in the transformation process by putting ourselves “under the knife?” Instead of the approved-improved-duly-and- obediently-circumcised better version of ourselves, Christ transforms us into an entirely new kind of creature.

Lord, show me what it means to live by the principle of transformation.

A different way

March 6th, 2014 by Maureen

This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.” Gal 3:12

In Him we live and move and have our being. Life in Christ is wonder, discovery, and adventure. In Him we love, belong, connect, communicate, create, work, and play. Stressing so much over doing it wrong hampers the potential to genuinely live the lives He created for us and experience the gift of His scandalously exhilarating grace.

Lord, be my faith lead to experiencing You instead of focusing on my efforts.

God has changed your relationship status

February 28th, 2014 by Maureen

And because we are His children, God has sent The Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out “Abba, Father.” Gal. 4:6

As children we know Dad as Dad whether he is a movie star or president of the U.S. And some of us didn’t have any idea of any other role our fathers fulfilled except being “Dad.” To say God is our father implies a less intimate relationship than to say “My Dad is God.” He sent Jesus to make us Sons and Daughters. Any other role we fulfill in His kingdom is in the context of Family.

Father, I love being Your kid!

Stand on love instead of ceremony

February 13th, 2014 by Maureen

For when we place our faith in Christ there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love. Gal. 5:6

Is it possible that some 21st century Christians put faith in certain “Christian” behaviors and disciplines in the same way some 1st century Christians continued to put faith in circumcision? Ceremonial allegiance to behavior, even noble, honorable behavior, may distract our focus away from loving God and loving others out of hearts authentically changed by grace.

Lord, let Your love be the change in my life and the motive behind my responses.

Fruit so sweet and fine…

May 22nd, 2013 by Maureen

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Gal. 5:22-23

It is impossible for the Holy Spirit to produce too much of this fruit. It is also impossible to fake it. True fruit is sweet and healthy. Fake fruit is saccharine and heavy. Fake fruit happens when we focus on behavior and other people’s opinions. True fruit is produced when we focus on Christ and respond to the presence of His Holy Spirit.

Lord, I want to leave a trail of true fruit wherever I go.

The time is right

December 2nd, 2012 by Maureen

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. Gal. 4:4-5

Jesus changes our status from slave to child. Now we  follow His law because we are family members wearing the family crest and upholding the family motto because we love and honor our Father and Brother. It’s time to stop fearing the boss and start honoring the Father. We are God’s children, not employees.

Lord, I want what I do to honor You.

Grace and peace

November 28th, 2012 by Maureen

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Rom. 1:7, I Cor. 1:3, 2 Cor. 1:2, Gal. 1:3, Eph. 1:2, Phil. 1:2, Col. 1:2, I Thess. 1:1, 2 Thess. 1:2, Titus 1:4, Phil. 1:3, 1 Pet. 1:2, 2 Pet.

Grace and peace seems to be the default greeting for Paul and Peter. When any of us have something to say, especially something important, grace and peace belong at the beginning of what we say and at the root of our intentions and purposes. Grace and peace are God’s gifts to our hearts, souls, spirits, and minds and a gift we can bring to our interactions with one another as well.

Lord, bring grace and peace to all I say and do today.

Grace and peace

October 5th, 2012 by Maureen

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. Gal. 1:3-4

The pain and suffering, meanness and selfishness around us takes its toll. Even when we are not directly effected by evil we witness its effects on other people and want to do something about it. Jesus equips us with the grace and peace to apply His loving solutions to the frustrating and discouraging situations we encounter as a result of evil.

Lord, give me grace and peace.

Privileges and responsibilities

September 24th, 2012 by Maureen

God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.  Gal. 4:5-6

Through Christ we become what we were not. His Spirit empowers us to carry out the privileges and responsibilities that adoption bestows on us. We now have an intimate father-chlid relationship with God and represent His gracious gift of Christ to the world around us.

Abba, bring me ever closer to You and help me to represent well.

Speaking in ALL CAPS

September 5th, 2012 by Maureen

Notice what large letters I use as I write these closing words in my own handwriting. Gal 6:11

We would be tired and tiresome people if we tried to live our entire lives in all caps, but each of us emphasize certain messages we believe are important. Paul’s all caps message at the end of Galatians was about transformation over legalism. When we choose to communicate a message in all caps it ought to be worth shouting about.

Lord, let your LOVE and GRACE live large in my life.


Unnatural reborn killers

July 17th, 2012 by Maureen

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Gal. 2:20

My new friend Andy Baxter explained “crucified with Christ” as “murdering your preferences.” Killing our sinful nature is unnatural enough, but when there is no moral imperative we enjoy the power to choose among all the good options. Being crucified, no longer living for ourselves, means surrendering those choices to Christ’s preferences too.

Jesus, live in me.

Building a bigger wheelhouse

July 13th, 2012 by Maureen

Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith. Gal. 6:10

We may feel called to serve a specific cause, ministry, or group of people and focus most of our energy, time, and money there. But sometimes proximity dictates involvement rather than whether we consider a need to be in our wheelhouse. Just when we think we have no more room in our lives for another thing, God enlarges our hearts and expands our territories.

Lord, help me see opportunities to help and give me the heart and wisdom to embrace them.

Good mornin’ America, how are you?

July 4th, 2012 by Maureen

 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. Gal. 5:13

The freedom that comes with faith is tied to love. The freedom that comes with American citizenship is tied to responsibility and respect. In America the right to do whatever we choose only extends so far as our neighbor’s freedoms. In Christ, not hurting anybody isn’t enough. Gotta love ’em.

Lord, thank you for freedom and the selfless people who protect my freedom with their restraint and especially with their lives.

The run of the house

June 17th, 2012 by Maureen

And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Gal. 5:6

Our King He has dispensed with formality. The Creator of the universe, the almighty and everlasting God invites each of us to call Him “Daddy.”  His arms and ears are always open. We are never an interruption to Him. His grace gives us the run of His house because when we are there, we’re home.

Happy Father’s Day!

Performance review

June 4th, 2012 by Maureen

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. Gal. 6:4

The failures or achievements of other people have no direct bearing on what God expects from us. We measure up because Jesus has already had his review and got a 10 out of 10. We don’t just do His work, we are His work. When we do our jobs well He is revealed and glorified.

Lord, help me do my work not just for You but in You.

Pardon me, your faith is showing

May 25th, 2012 by Maureen

What is important is faith expressing itself in love. Gal. 5:6b

What we really believe is expressed in the way we go about our lives forming relationships, having conversations, doing work, learning, relaxing, celebrating, and dealing with conflict. Speaking directly about our faith provides clarification on the love already evident in our lives. If “God so loved…” is the motivation behind Christ’s act of redemption then love must also be our motivation for sharing that truth.

Lord, help me grow in both my faith and my love.

Perfectionism is far from perfect

May 5th, 2012 by Maureen

How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Gal. 3:3

Perfectionism can hinder growth and productivity. Some of us hang back because we fear failure. Nothing we do seems good enough. That same transformative Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, that blew through the upper room, that enabled the work of the early church enables our efforts for Christ. We don’t have to be perfect because He is.

Lord, help me stop worrying about doing it perfectly and rely on Your strength instead of mine.

Christianity involves human sacrifice

April 6th, 2012 by Maureen

And he said to them, “This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many.” Mark 14:24  Those who are trying to force you to be circumcised want to look good to others. They don’t want to be persecuted for teaching that the cross of Christ alone can save. Gal. 6:12

The need for atoning blood sacrifice makes Christianity sound so weird.  It’s easier to explain the benefits surrounding the results of salvation, like community or personal transformation, than it is to explain the necessity for Jesus’ crucifixion to make salvation possible. Only the Holy Spirit can make sin look bad enough to sinners to warrant the cross.

Lord, I confess that I need the atoning blood of Christ. Help those who don’t get it yet to understand.

Imprint on God

March 13th, 2012 by Maureen

And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father. Gal. 4:6

Bonds are created between parent and child from the first moments of birth. Some baby animals imprint on the first moving thing they see, which can lead to some pretty funny pairings.  As God’s adopted children He has to undo some of our earlier imprints so He sends His Spirit to help us form bonds with Him as our true Father.

Daddy, help me to depend on You, to follow You, and to imitate You.

God is blending up a fresh fruit smoothie

February 27th, 2012 by Maureen

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Gal. 5:22

Paul starts out with the good stuff then plants “patience” in the middle, throws in four more good ones, and has to go and end the list with “self-control.” Some people approach the fruit of the Spirit like a cafeteria plan. It’s not. It’s God’s special blend of nine flavors that all have to be present to call it the “fruit of the Spirit.”

Lord, I want to keep drinking what You’re blending, make this Fruit what fuels my life.