Sunday 19 February, 2017

Galatians 5:16-21

16 So I say, live by the Holy Spirit’s power. Then you will not do what your desires controlled by sin want you to do. 17 The desires controlled by sin do not want what the Spirit delights in. And the Spirit does not want what the desires controlled by sin delight in. The two are at war with each other. That’s why you are not supposed to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the authority of the law. 19 The result of sin’s control in our lives is clear. It includes sexual sins, impure acts and wild living. 20 It includes worshiping statues of gods and worshiping evil powers. It also includes hatred and fighting, jealousy and fits of anger. Sinful desire is interested only in getting ahead. It stirs up trouble. It separates people into their own little groups. 21 It wants what others have. It gets drunk and takes part in wild parties. It does many things of that kind. I warn you now as I did before. People who live like this will not receive God’s kingdom.

v17 “The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.”

Tension – I live in the tension between my former sinful nature and my new spirit-directed nature. My old sinful nature is the opposite of my new spirit-led nature. My sinful nature seems to be my default nature – the easy option – the one that looks after me first. But the tension builds when I am directed by the Holy Spirit to live out of my new Spirit-led nature.

I am NOT trapped – I have a choice. While there is clearly tension between my old nature and my new nature – I am free to be led by you – Holy Spirit. Your grace – Your enabling power – works with me when I choose to follow your directions. When I sense the tension in me – I need to stop and listen. You will direct me to live free from my sinful nature.

Forgive me for the multitude of times that I don’t stop and listen. You are so patient in your guidance, ever ready to lead me. Thank you. Help me be more sensitive today to what you are saying to me and ready to obey you.

Written by Ps. Linda Quinn

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Saturday 18 February, 2017

Galatians 5:13-15

13 My brothers and sisters, you were chosen to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to live under the power of sin. Instead, serve one another in love. 14 The whole law is fulfilled by obeying this one command. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18) 15 If you say or do things that harm one another, watch out! You could end up destroying one another.

Paul reminds us that being in Christ is about being in freedom! All too often religion gets in the way and rules start to break down our freedoms – people ask how far we can go – and so rules to protect are developed, but over time are not understood so no longer protect, they constrain our freedom in Christ.

Yet Paul also warns that our freedom should not lead to licence! We cannot do anything – honouring God leads to lifestyle choices that, while free, are not unconstrained by His purity and power.

He reminds us to serve one another humbly in love. This motive serves as a way forward to fulfil what is now written on our hearts and as such lived in our lives, rather than required from outside by others – our behaviour is now as a result of our beliefs not just to please someone else.

Paul finally warns us that behaviour outside of following Christ will destroy you!

I love that I am free in Christ – and that freedom releases me to fully value others as God has created them not based on colour, creed, sexuality or anything other than they are one of God’s precious creations. That means I honour and value them – and fulfil the law of Christ.

Father help me to always honour others and serve them as You would have me do.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

1 (reply)
  1. Linda Quinn says:

    I love that when Paul warns us not to use our freedom as an excuse to live under the power of sin – that he then directs us to the alternative – he says “instead serve” … let freedom lead you to serve others. In Christ I am free to serve others in love! What a great alternative to bondage to sin. Thank you Lord for leading me today through Your Word!

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Friday 17 February, 2017

Galatians 5:7-12

7 You were running a good race. Who has kept you from obeying the truth? 8 The God who chooses you does not keep you from obeying the truth. 9 You should know that “just a little yeast works its way through the whole batch of dough.” 10 The Lord makes me certain that you will see the truth of this. The one who has gotten you all mixed up will have to pay the price. This will happen no matter who has done it. 11 Brothers and sisters, I no longer preach that people must be circumcised. If I did, why am I still being opposed? If I preached that, then the cross wouldn’t upset anyone. 12 So then, what about troublemakers who try to get others to be circumcised? I wish they would go the whole way! I wish they would cut off everything that marks them as men!

Paul doesn’t know who it is that has crept into the church and is teaching circumcision + Jesus but he knows that their teaching is effecting the whole church, “A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough” .. Paul uses a perfect word picture that all in the Galatian church will understand – as every home would make bread every day.

Paul is annoyed with the Galatian Christians because they are listening and acting on the false teaching but being annoyed doesn’t even begin to describe what Paul thought these ‘circumcisers’ needed to do with their knives!! But he is also confident that the Galatians will come to their senses and realise that circumcision is a thing of the past.

I know that I don’t observe any of the OT Law, but is there anything that I do that I add to the death of Jesus on the cross, so that I feel ‘right’ or accepted or clean or … whatever … before God?? Have I ever listened to teaching that says that I have to do or be a certain way to be a ‘real’ Christian? Observing one little thing means that Jesus is not enough.

Father, please help me to recognise if I ever add anything, other than my faith in Jesus, for my salvation and forgiveness to be acceptable before you. Amen

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Thursday 16 February, 2017

Galatians 5:2-6

2 Here is what I, Paul, say to you. Don’t let yourselves be circumcised. If you do, Christ won’t be of any value to you. 3 I say it again. Every man who lets himself be circumcised must obey the whole law. 4 Some of you are trying to be made right with God by obeying the law. You have been separated from Christ. You have fallen away from God’s grace. 5 But we long to be made completely holy because of our faith in Christ. Through the Holy Spirit we wait for this in hope. 6 Circumcision and uncircumcision aren’t worth anything to those who believe in Christ Jesus. The only thing that really counts is faith that shows itself through love.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

Paul was called as the Apostle of the Gentiles (Romans 11:13). He got revelation to know the truth of Righteousness-By-Faith. It is one of the most important truths of Jesus Christ and difference from other religious.

But, some people in the Galatian Church have been confused and moved their faith from Jesus Christ back to circumcision (back to the Law) and tried to do Righteousness-By-Works. Paul knew it’s not the truth of gospel, but the seeds from enemy. It leads Christians to position themselves by WORKS, not by love and grace of Christ. So, on the one hand Paul said “in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value”, “circumcision is circumcision of the heart” (Romans 2:29), the other hand he said: The only thing that counts is FAITH.

I am challenged by Paul’s message. How many times have I thought to get righteousness by WORKS (helping the poor and under privileged children … Doing fund raising … Running a ministry .. Donating to charities … Even sharing the gospel to others) not by FAITH. Don’t get me wrong, those activities are all good WORKS and we should keep doing that to reflect Jesus’ love and grace. But, the key point is what is my intention in doing those things is? Was it because of the faith/love in Jesus or trying to approve I can do some good stuff to please God and get righteousness?

Dear Lord, thank you for saving me and loving me unconditionally. It’s not because I am a “good guy” or have done “good things”, but because you are the LOVE (1 John 4:16) and have set me free. I don’t have to position myself in Christ by works. I am FREE, Amen.

Written by Allen Leu

1 (reply)
  1. Linda Quinn says:

    “The only thing that really counts is faith that shows itself through love.”
    Lord make my faith visible
    I want to live free
    I want to love deeply
    Make it count for your Kingdom

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Wednesday 15 February, 2017

Galatians 4:21-5:1

21 You who want to be under the authority of the law, tell me something. Don’t you know what the law says? 22 It is written that Abraham had two sons. The slave woman gave birth to one of them. The free woman gave birth to the other one. 23 Abraham’s son by the slave woman was born in the usual way. But his son by the free woman was born because of God’s promise. 24 These things are examples. The two women stand for two covenants. One covenant comes from Mount Sinai. It gives birth to children who are going to be slaves. It is Hagar. 25 Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia. She stands for the present city of Jerusalem. That’s because she and her children are slaves. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free. She is our mother. 27 It is written, “Be glad, woman, you who have never had children. Shout for joy and cry out loud, you who have never had labor pains. The woman who is all alone has more children than the woman who has a husband.” (Isaiah 54:1) 28 Brothers and sisters, you are children because of God’s promise just as Isaac was. 29 At that time, the son born in the usual way tried to hurt the other son. The other son was born by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman. Get rid of her son. The slave woman’s son will never have a share of the family’s property. He’ll never share it with the free woman’s son.” (Genesis 21:10) 31 Brothers and sisters, we are not the slave woman’s children. We are the free woman’s children. 5 Christ has set us free to enjoy our freedom. So remain strong in the faith. Don’t let the chains of slavery hold you again.

Since there are those in the Galatian church going back to observing parts of the Law, Paul paints the perfect picture of their choice.

Hagar                                      Sarah

slave                                       free

flesh                                        promise

present Jerusalem                Jerusalem above

old covenant                          new covenant

no inheritance                       inheritance

slavery                                    freedom

Nothing’s changed. Without Jesus in my life, these are also my choices. Circumcision may not be my “slavery” to the law but I can be in slavery to plenty of other things without Jesus in my life to set me free.

Lord I want to “stand firm” in my choice of Christ in my life – that is, grace and freedom. Please show me any area of my life where I’ve allowed anything to pull me back into bondage and slavery.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

2 replies
  1. Linda Quinn says:

    Great Suzie – thanks. I love how plainly Paul points things out. I read this passage in The Amplified Version too and this is my declaration prayer this morning –
    I am a child of the supernatural
    I am free
    I am completely liberated
    So I am standing fast and will not be ensnared again – I will not submit to the yoke of slavery which (being in Christ) I have taken off. I can only do this by the power of the Holy Spirit working in me.
    Fill me again today Holy Spirit, in Jesus name, Amen

  2. Kim says:

    Lord help me to remember today that I am living in freedom & have an inheritance that lasts forever. Thank you

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Tuesday 14 February, 2017

Galatians 4:12-20

12 I make my appeal to you, brothers and sisters. I’m asking you to become like me. After all, I became like you. You didn’t do anything wrong to me. 13 Remember when I first preached the good news to you? Remember I did that because I was sick. 14 And my sickness was hard on you. But you weren’t mean to me. You didn’t make fun of me. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God. You welcomed me as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15 So why aren’t you treating me the same way now? Suppose you could have torn out your own eyes and given them to me. Then you would have done it. I am a witness to this. 16 Have I become your enemy now by telling you the truth? 17 Those people are trying hard to win you over. But it is not for your good. They want to take you away from us. They want you to commit yourselves to them. 18 It is fine to be committed to something, if the purpose is good. And you shouldn’t be committed only when I am with you. You should always be committed. 19 My dear children, I am in pain for you like I was when we first met. I have pain like a woman giving birth. And my pain will continue until Christ makes you like himself. 20 I wish I could be with you now. I wish I could change my tone of voice. As it is, I don’t understand you.

Gosh Paul is disturbed by the change in behaviour of the Galatians. He had arrived there and stayed there with them not because he wanted to but because he was too sick to leave them. Even so they treated him well and listened to what he had to say. Now they are not so happy to listen. Paul’s alarm bells have gone off. He is worried for his friends. He wants them to be free – not limited by people’s rules and regulations.

He is pretty blunt in trying to bring them back to God. People are trying to keep the Galatians away from Paul. He says they do not have good intentions and is trying to remind the Galatians what God actually says.

We also need to be wary of those who would lead us away from what God actually says even in the guise of “what God wants”. God wants us to live in the freedom of His grace. He went to a lot of effort to save us – completely and utterly. There are not extra bits we have to do to make sure we are saved – faith is it – believing in Jesus, what He says and what He did. That’s it. How AMAZING.

Dear Lord Thank you for our salvation. Thank you for the grace and freedom you bring to our lives. Help each of us to keep in touch with You and Your word to make sure we don’t get distracted or brought off track. Thank you for Paul’s passion for his friends – help us to help each other to keep our eyes on You.

Written by Therese Manning

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Monday 13 February, 2017

Galatians 4:8-11

8 At one time you didn’t know God. You were slaves to gods that are really not gods at all. 9 But now you know God. Even better, God knows you. So why are you turning back to those weak and worthless powers? Do you want to be slaves to them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid for you. I am afraid that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

People can be slaves to gods who are not real or servants of a loving and true God. Human beings it would seem are made to serve.

We can know God and he can know us. This speaks of a relationship rather than just following a set of spiritual principles or moral code.

The apostle Paul is annoyed and frustrated with the Galatian Christians because they have reverted back to the way they lived before meeting Christ. Old habits die hard I guess.   They have slipped back to observing their previous spiritual principles and religious occasions rather than “knowing” God. Because of this Paul feels he has wasted his time working with the Galatians.

These few verses remind me that I am called to have an ongoing relationship with God. We can know him! How amazing! All relationships require effort, especially at the start when we barely know someone. In that respect, nurturing and fostering our relationship with God is no different from other important relationships in our life.   Sometimes with God though, it’s easy to slip back to doing what is right and expected of a Christian ie. just religion.  God wants us to talk to him and truly know Him.

Thank you for the privilege of being able to know you personally. Help me to always value our relationship and not to fall back to just religious practises, Amen.

Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods

2 replies
  1. Linda Quinn says:

    Thanks Ainslie. It’s such a privilege to be able to be friends with God and to have His power at work in us. I was struck with Paul’s question: “So why are you turning back to those weak and worthless powers?” That’s what I’m asking myself – and asking the Holy Spirit to alert me when I do – so I can shift me attention back to my all powerful, personal and super loving God!

  2. David Newton says:

    There seems to be a common thread through most of the post for Galatians. – ‘Relationship defeats legalism.’

    It is just a guess but I would say a legalistic Christian is a miserable Christian.

    Thanks Ainslie!

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Sunday 12 February, 2017

Galatians 4:1-7

4 Here is what I have been saying. As long as your own children are young, they are no different from slaves in your house. They are no different, even though they will own all the property. 2 People are in charge of the property. And other people are in charge of the children. The children remain under their care until they become adults. At that time their fathers give them the property. 3 It is the same with us. When we were children, we were slaves to the basic spiritual powers of the world. 4 But then the chosen time came. God sent his Son. A woman gave birth to him. He was born under the authority of the law. 5 He came to set free those who were under the authority of the law. He wanted us to be adopted as children with all the rights children have. 6 Because you are his children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. He is the Holy Spirit. By his power we call God Abba. Abba means Father. 7 So you aren’t a slave any longer. You are God’s child. Because you are his child, God gives you the rights of those who are his children.

Receiving an inheritance suddenly changes the possibilities in your life, it can set you free. And yet it is not something that happens from your own efforts but because of the graciousness of someone else. This passage in Galatians challenges me to consider my spiritual position. The truth is that Jesus’s death and resurrection -victory over sin and death – has placed us in position to receive an inheritance from God. But so often we behave as if we are still waiting for our inheritance – still slaves to the law. Legalism, fear and immaturity keep us trapped spiritually, limiting the possibilities in our lives and limiting our relationship with God. God has already been infinitely gracious towards us. We need to check our mindset and make sure we have stepped from thinking like a slave to seeing ourselves as God does – worthy of all He wants to give us.

I want to fully live the life God has given me, know Him as He intends I should, and experience all His relationship with me has to offer. I want to live in my spiritual inheritance, not as a slave. I want to walk today in the graciousness of God, free from all that would hold me back.

Father, thank you for all you have done for me, more than I can imagine. Help me to live in the freedom Jesus has bought for me. Help me to walk today in maturity and Grace. Help me to be gracious to others as you have been to me. I love you Lord. Amen

Written by Christine Knight

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Saturday 11 February, 2017

Galatians 3:23-29

23 Before faith in Christ came, we were guarded by the law. We were locked up until this faith was made known. 24 So the law was put in charge of us until Christ came. He came so that we might be made right with God by believing in Christ. 25 But now faith in Christ has come. So the law is no longer in charge of us. 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God by believing in Christ. 27 This is because all of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. You have put him on as if he were your clothes. 28 There is no Jew or Gentile. There is no slave or free person. There is no male or female. That’s because you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 You who belong to Christ are Abraham’s seed. So you will receive what God has promised.

This passage is so rich!  Paul refers to the law as a school master or as NT Wright puts it a baby-sitter, one charged with the protection and safe custody of young people.  A role that is no longer needed when maturity comes. Now that Jesus has come we do not need the baby-sitter anymore – the ‘law’ is written on our hearts and we fulfill it by faith and indeed fulfilling it displays true faith.  Some think we must have rules, many rules so as we do not sin – Paul says no to this concept – the Son has set us free for the sake of freedom and we are to live by faith in this freedom – not under law or for that matter license but under God’s grace – free to live by faith – lead by the Spirit.  Some say that means we may sin, and sin grossly and so it is better to place some rules around us – but this negates the life of faith – we become reliant on things outside of us rather than the relationship we have in Christ led by the Spirit.

I know it is a risk, but when someone is truly led by the Spirit, truly saved then we do not crave the appetites of the flesh we crave the life of the Spirit!

Father help me to live in the power of the Spirit, fulfilling the desires of the Spirit as He leads me in life!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Friday 10 February, 2017

Galatians 3:19-22

19 Then why was the law given at all? It was added because of human sin. And it was supposed to control us until the promised Seed had come. The law was given through angels, and a go-between was put in charge of it. 20 A go-between means that there is more than one side to an agreement. But God didn’t use a go-between when he made his promise to Abraham. 21 So is the law opposed to God’s promises? Certainly not! What if a law had been given that could give life? Then people could become right with God by obeying the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin. It does so in order that what was promised might be given to those who believe. The promise comes through faith in Jesus Christ.

This is quite a dense passage in terms of the reasoning going on, and yet, what strikes me in this passage is that God is all about promises. I get caught up in questioning whether I’m doing right or wrong, and I slip into worrying about whether or not I’m measuring up to God’s standards. I feel this ‘law’ weighing heavily down on me, but the law is only there to show me my need for Jesus; to help me appreciate the value of the promise of salvation.

What a rich word that is… promise… It is a reason to expect something; an express assurance on which expectation is to be based; a declaration that one will do or refrain from doing something specified; it gives the person to whom it is made a right to expect or claim the performance or forbearance of a specified act. Wow! God has given me the right to expect, to claim, the performance of salvation, and all the other things He has promised – like peace, joy and provision – not because I am perfect, but because I have put my faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice upon the cross. The law judges me guilty, but in Jesus, God judges me innocent. That’s what the promise is about. It is hope. It is freedom.

Lord, when I look at myself through the eyes of the law, help me to see myself as you see me, washed clean in Jesus’ blood, with a shining white robe covering me. Help me to remember all of your promises, for I want to spend each day in a state of expectation and assurance that you will act as you have said. Amen.

Written by Beth Waugh

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