Re:Verse passage – Galatians 3:1-14 (day six)
Abraham was declared righteous because he believed God’s promise long before the law came onto the scene. Nor was there ever a moment when Abraham graduated from believing God to working things out on his own (the law). No, he began his journey believing God and all along the way believed God.
Maybe that gets to the heart of sin: unbelief. Sin is not first an immoral behavior or thought, it is unbelief in the promises of God and putting your trust elsewhere. According to Paul, looking to the law for life condemns us not because the law is bad, but because it requires disbelieving (turning away from) God and embracing self-reliance.
Jesus died for our unbelief so that we would believe God.
Paul was right; Peter knew better. He knew no one was justified by working the law; his faith was firmly fixed on Jesus. BUT legalism is sneaky. It can happen to the best of us, just like it did to Peter. Under pressure (it doesn’t always take much), we can separate ourselves from those who don’t fit into our normal crowd out of fear of what the crowd might think.
Jesus always had that problem; he was always being judged because he was hanging out with the wrong people, those who didn’t fit the profile. What made Jesus pretty cool was that he turned the world upside down by simply not avoiding people, especially those who didn’t fit the profile.
I hope we will always be ready to expose our sneaky legalism (our tendency to measure our righteousness by comparing ourselves to others) and embrace a willingness to turn the world upside down, just like Jesus.
Re:Verse passage – Galatians 2:1-10 (day six)
The Gospel is a revolutionary message with surprising results. No one could have imagined the depth of its redemptive power. No one imagined that Jesus could redeem a passionate persecutor of the earliest Christians, and yet he did. Or that non-Jewish pagans would embrace its truth.
Not everyone responded to this news with joy but with suspicion and jealousy. They questioned the man, his Gospel message, and these pagans’ “new freedom.”
Here’s the rub, they began to think the only true way to become children of God is to become like us. So they began to whisper and accuse, who is Paul not to demand that they become like a Jew!
But the Gospel revolted, busting through that twisting of the truth, demonstrating with surprising results that Jesus is enough!
Christian, let’s pray for the revolution; let’s be joyful revolutionaries of the redemptive power of the Gospel in San Antonio!
Re:Verse passage – Galatians 1:11-24 (day six)
…it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles. Galatians 1:16
Paul realized in Jesus, that it was never God’s ambition that Gentiles become children of Israel but that they become children of God, resulting in a global multi-ethnic family united in Jesus.
Jesus does not undo or abandon the law but fulfills it (by his life, death, and resurrection) for all those who believe, and that is good news! Furthermore, through Jesus the promises God made to Israel are now available to the whole world, which was his intent all along.
Aren’t you thankful?
Re:Verse passage – Galatians 1:1-10 (day six)
This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead. Galatians 1:1
What I appreciate most about Galatians is its intimate portrait of Paul the Apostle. No other epistle includes the same details of his life as Galatians. While his introduction is not necessarily unique from his other letters, it does set us up to learn more about Paul’s life.
Paul makes clear from the beginning that he was appointed by Jesus himself and given special authority to be his spokesperson.
Sometimes, it helps me to give Paul’s history real thought, that he was a real person in history, with real encounters, struggles, and ambitions. In these few verses, we re-learn two valuable and personal things about him. First, he really cared about the truth; he had given his life to the Truth. Second, he really cared about people. What becomes clear is that the two are not at odds. In fact, the reason Paul really cares about people is because he really cares about the Truth.
I’m looking forward to getting to know Paul better over the course of the 13 weeks, aren’t you?
Re:Verse passage – 1 John 5:14-15 (day six)
Have you considered that John’s encouraging words were intended to change their prayer life? His letter was not an intellectual exercise but was meant to give them confidence and change the rhythms of their lives.
We have been in a series on prayer for 13 weeks. Has it been an intellectual exercise, or has there been real change in your own prayer life?
It has changed mine.
Re:Verse passage – Daniel 9:1-23 (day six)
So, I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting. I also wore rough burlap and sprinkled myself with ashes. Daniel 9:3
I have always appreciated Daniel’s prayer posture. In chapter six, he opens his window towards Jerusalem and prays on his knees. He wore “rough burlap” in this account and sprinkled himself with ashes. Every posture reflected the longings and condition of his heart-grief, penitence, and hope of restoration.
In my reflection, I wonder what my posture communicates about my heart’s condition. How would a more thoughtful posture affect how I pray? Should I consider having a special place like Daniel (his room, with his window open towards Jerusalem), or be more mindful about what I am wearing? These are things Daniel clearly considered. Should I?
What is your posture when you pray?
Re:Verse passage – Luke 11:1-4 (day six)
The Lord’s Prayer serves as Jesus’ summary of God’s kingdom movement, a proactive beckoning for the Father to advance his mission through his life. I imagine his praying took this shape from an early age, longing for his Father’s Kingdom to come.
But now this prayer was not only his but also belonged to his disciples. And now also to us.
Jesus meant it when he said, “Pray this way.” Will his prayer serve as a summary of your life? Will we pray like Jesus? Let’s.
Re:Verse passage – Nehemiah 1:1-11 (day six)
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Mathew 11:28
The news of Jerusalem burdened Nehemiah. The thought of the people there and the hardships they faced consumed him. His response was immediate and prolonged, and all the while, he prayed.
Prayer is not informing God of what he already knows; it is not issuing God maintenance requests. Prayer is actively entrusting God with the burdens we carry. Prayer is rest
Re:Verse passage – Mark 11:22-25 (day six)
When Peter marveled at the withered fig tree, Jesus responded with, “Have faith in God.” His response was intended to affirm that God moves and acts in the world.
Generally, we tend to live day to day as if we are in a closed system, like an ant farm. If we are honest, even when we pray, we don’t often think God will actually intervene. When we tell others, “my thoughts and prayers are with you,” we believe the words themselves may provide comfort, but we rarely believe God will act.
Jesus is telling Peter, “God still acts in the world.” Whether seen or unseen God is the mover of mountains, if he so wills.
That’s the kind of God we pray to. Believe it.