Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Paul's letter to the Galatians (Gal. 1:1-17)

"These flags wave together in Ocean Grove, NJ"
We still love England
Canon Rebel t1i
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

Since I've recently read about Paul, I want to finish going through his letters to the Churches.  I'd love to see more flags from other nations in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, (the Christian beach).

Galatia was where Turkey is today.  It's a small world.  It's believed this is where Noah's ark landed.  All sorts of things happened in Turkey which is also why there are lots of early Christian artifacts there.  I'd love to see them someday.

Chapter 1

1 Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), 2 and all the brethren who are with me,
Paul can honestly say he didn't become an apostle by man's doing, it was Jesus Himself.  On the road to Damascus (Acts 6:8-15, 7:54-8:3, and 9:1-9).

To the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

This was a time period of lots of philosophies.  There was Gnosticism, "whatever I think is true. Facts just confuse me. Truth is what I want it to be.  As long as I feel good."  
Sounds very familiar in our time.  There were Jews trying to bring people back to Judaism to deny Christ.

6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 
It sounds like these people pestered each other to try and get their way.  Paul is reminding us even today not to give in to annoyances but to keep the faith.

8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
The Bible is our truth detector.  If someone tells me something that doesn't sound right about our faith in Jesus, I need to look it up in my Bible.  It's good to read the Bible often: encouragement, hope, healing, awesome stories and determining the truth about our faith.  Children used to do Bible drills.  The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit.  So the leader would ask them to find a verse and the winner was the first one to get there.

10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
Ouch!  Paul is reminding us not to be people pleasers.  Oh dear, I hope I didn't offend anyone hahaha.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
(Hebrews 4:16 NIV)

11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
This is why I think of the Apostle Paul as an all or nothing kind of guy.  He never seemed to go half way.  I think if I met him, he would have piercing eyes that tried to look into my soul.  But I don't think I would be afraid.  I'm kind of dumb that way : )  I tend to look right back until one of us flinches hahaha.  Since he walked and talked with Jesus, he would have that indescribable love and gentleness I see in Christians.  It's like a beautiful sparkle within.  And joy!  I love Jesus' joy!

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
Paul is saying here that when God called him to preach to Gentiles (us), he didn't mess around.  He went right out and did it.  In these verses we see references to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel.  I need to research how old Israel really is in the Biblical archaeology.  No idea why our president would pretend to know more than they do.
(Galatians 1:1-17 NKJV)

Dear Heavenly Father,
I lift up Ukraine and Israel to You.  I pray You will bring peace to these nations.  Please let the wrong fail and the right win.  Let Your hand be with them to give them strength and know Your presence is with them.

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
10 Set the world right;
Do what's best––
  as above, so below.
11 Keep us alive with three square meals.
12 Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
13 Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You're in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You're ablaze in beauty!
  Yes. Yes. Yes .
(Matthew 6:9-13 Message)

Father, You have provided my needs so much I don't know how to say, "Thank You."
I offer this prayer to You for Israel and Ukraine.
10 ... “Oh, that You would bless (Israel & Ukraine) indeed, and enlarge (their) territory, that Your hand would be with (them), and that You would keep (them) from evil, that (they) may not cause pain!” 
(1 Chronicles 4:10 NKJV)

In Jesus Name, Amen.

Here's a song by Whosoever South, "All the time" (link)

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