Re:Verse passage – Galatians 3:1-14 (day seven)
You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? Galatians 3:1
I think this letter could easily have been written to us:
You foolish Americans. You have such a strong foundation on your faith, why would you allow this kind of heresy to infiltrate your churches. It seems like someone has put a spell on you, because there is no reason for you to be acting this way.
We could say this for numerous heresies in our culture today, but what was the issue in Galatia? It was about inclusion. This wouldn’t be an issue for us would it? We wouldn’t show favoritism to certain people would we?
It is natural for us to be drawn to people who are like us. There are people that we just seem to click more with. The issue is these clicks can easily turn into cliques. What we need to realize is the thing that allows us to “click” more than anything in this world is the Holy Spirit living inside of each of us. Today there will be over a thousand people on our campus. Go outside of your normal rhythm, maybe even sit in a different pew or seat, and see if you can connect and click with someone new.
Re:Verse passage – Galatians 2:11-21 (day seven)
The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. Galatians 2:13
Peter, what are you doing? We know that you of all people know the importance of including the gentiles. Acts 10 and 11 showed us your vision where God told you to include them. This feels like a drawback to the Peter who would rebuke and deny Jesus rather than the one on whom the church was built. Yet, this is what makes you so relatable. You remind us of… ourselves! Two steps forward, one step back. Even when we have been made new (vs 20), it seems like it is the same old sin that comes crawling back in. Satan knows to attack where we are weak. That is exactly why we need to be on guard, especially when we are in positions of power and influence.
“The sins of teachers are teachers of sins.” – John Trapp
Re:Verse passage – Galatians 2:1-10 (day seven)
They only asked us to remember the poor—the very thing I also was eager to do. Galatians 2:10
Even in the midst of dissension, we can usually see that we are on the same page. The end goal and purpose are usually the same and that is enough to keep us together. However, our culture would tell us that the dissension is irreparable. We have become so consumed with being right, that we can’t look through theological differences to join together for the greater good and the furtherment of the kingdom. I am right, you are wrong, so we can’t be friends. This is what the world is telling us.
This is not to say that we should compromise on our beliefs, but time is too short for us to waste time drawing lines in the sand when we could be drawing up battle plans. If there is opportunity to find unity in the midst of dissension, that is where our focus should be.
Re:Verse passage – Galatians 1:11-24 (day seven)
But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace. Galatians 1:15
Paul is telling us about himself, but he is also giving us insight into our relationship with God:
You are chosen. The Psalmist uses similar language saying, “You knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 119:13). Before the beginning of time, God had a plan for you. He created you unique and perfect. In that perfection, He set you apart for a specific purpose… or purposes.
You are called. God extends to you an invitation to join Him in this work that He has set you apart for. Every person has a calling. For some, it is to come into a relationship with Him, but His calling doesn’t stop at salvation. Being set apart is synonymous with sanctification, and we know that sanctification is the process of our spiritual maturation on this earth. The calling may be different, but it will never stop. He is always calling His chosen ones to join Him in His work.
When the prophet Isaiah heard this calling, He said , “Here I am. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8) The Lord has chosen and called you for a specific purpose today. Will you be able to say, “Send me!”?
Re:Verse passage – Galatians 1:1-10 (day seven)
who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age. Galatians 1:4a
Have you ever heard someone attempt to discredit the Bible due to its age? They try to say that a book written by men thousands of years ago should not govern or provide morality for the present age. The problem with this logic is that the Bible is not some book written by men; it is the inspired Word of God.
Paul addressed this particular book to the churches in Galatia, clearly intending for it to become a circular letter that was passed around the region. We can know that God intended for it to circulate all the way to you and me in 2023. Why? Because He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. His Word is not outdated. It is more than capable to rescue us from this present age. How is the Word speaking to you today?
Re:Verse passage – 1 John 5:14-15 (day seven)
This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. vs 14
Every so often, I will host an “Ask Anything” night with the youth. This is a time where I can hear the questions that are bubbling in the hearts’ of our students and do my best to answer those questions. I will usually find a way for the questions to be anonymous so that there is complete freedom for the students to ask anything they want. Of course, you get some middle school boys asking silly questions, but for the most part, I get deep insightful questions.
Do you feel the freedom to ask God anything? God wants to hear the burning questions and desires of your heart. He knows them because He knows you better than you do, but He wants you to express them in prayer. Even though there is not a guarantee that they will be answered in the way we should want, there is freedom in knowing you have been heard and answered.
Re:Verse passage – Daniel 9:1-23 (day six)
As it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come on us. vs 13
Do you quote scripture in your prayers? This is a common theme in prayers we read through out the Bible, but isn’t that counter intuitive? Doesn’t God already know His Words and how They apply to the situation? Yes, but maybe the scripture has less to do with changing God’s will and more to do with influencing the prayer’s heart. When we use scripture in our prayer, it is a way for us to show God and ourselves that we know and believe His promises. We reassure ourselves that God has answered this prayer in the past, and He is capable of doing it again. When we use scripture in our prayers, it is a sign that our heart is beating more in rhythm with God’s. If you want that, if you want your heart in rhythm with God’s, you need to love His Word and make it a part of your rhythm. Naturally, His Words will become your words.
Re:Verse passage – Luke 11:1-4 (day seven)
“When you pray, say: ‘Father.'”
This seems normal for us who have grown up in the church and in praying homes, but for the disciples, this phrase was mind boggling. The religious leaders who taught the prayers never used the word Father to address God. Why? From their perspective, Father was too intimate of a name to refer to the Holy God. Yet, that is exactly why Jesus wants the disciples to use this phrase. The Father wants an intimate relationship with his children.
Megan did a great job walking us through how “Hallowed” changes our mindset as we pray. Father, does the same thing while adding some paradox. Do you feel the tension of the intimacy of the term Father with the reverence of the term Hallowed? You should, because the Creator of the universe, the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God wants to have personal one-on-one time with you! He wants your dirt. He wants your pain. He sees and knows the real you, and still wants to talk to you. He is Holy. He is Father. He is The Holy Dad!
How does this change the way you think about the beginning of your prayers to Him?
Re:Verse passage – Nehemiah 1:1-11 (day seven)
“and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down” vs 3
The wall is the life support for the city. A broken wall means that the city is vulnerable to its enemies with no defense and no protection. Can you imagine going through your day with the expectation of being attacked at anytime? Can you imagine trying to sleep at night knowing that if you were attacked, there is nothing you could do to protect your friends and family? This is what broke Nehemiah.
Does it break you? Walls are just as important to spiritual warfare as they are to physical. When we allow our spiritual walls to be remain in shambles, we leave ourselves susceptible to attack. With no defense or protection, the enemy can infiltrate our homes and take over our lives. These walls are both personal and corporate. Nehemiah showed us that when each person took care of their part of the wall, the city was fortified faster and stronger. When we each do our part, we strengthen the Church. So where do we start? How do we rebuild the broken and weak places in our spiritual lives? We start like Nehemiah. We start in prayer.
Re:Verse passage – Mark 11:22-25 (day seven)
In college I met a girl who had recently converted from Islam to Christianity. She was reading scriptures fervently. However, she took a very literal approach to Jesus’ command that we will do greater things than He. To test this out, she went to a nearby lake and attempted to walk on water. After failing, she reported back to her mentor. Chuckling to himself, while not wanting to discourage her passion, he simply asked, “Well, did you take a towel?” She responded, “Yes!” He laughed, “Well that’s why it didn’t work!”
God makes it very clear that we have the power and authority to ask that a mountain be moved and He will move it… as long as we believe He can. However, I think a lot of us, like the girl and her towel, prepare ourselves in case God doesn’t move the mountain. We pray, but we do not expect. We bring our proverbial towels to the prayer anticipating we will get wet instead of fully believing God can and will work a miracle. God wants us to come to Him with anything and everything, with no restraints so that He can show us that He is still in the business of working miracles.