"Fruit is better than thistles : )"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
I realized I left Galatians to read Revelation which was really great. I learned a ton and got a lot out of it. And then Christmas came so I wanted to go through that. So here we are back in Galatians. Don't know about you but I'm still a little worn out after the holidays. It was great fun! We had people over and I made baked ziti, an Italian dish. We did get some snow on Monday and it's really cold in New Jersey right now. Awesome time to do some artwork and blog. Oh I did exercise today, some days not so much.
Galatians Chapter 5
This part of Galatians sounds really familiar with terrorism on the rise. Fear can be a terrible, paralyzing force. When the News replays the tapes of a terrorist murder scene over and over, or even a protest, I am afraid it empowers bad guys to do more to stoke their egos. God is telling us to stand fast in our freedom with Christ.
1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
We sometimes forget how much has been sacrificed for our faith, how much it took to have a Bible and Church. All of the Apostles were martyred. It's not a time to give up at all. Our prayers matter and our songs please God.
These verses came to mind as I was thinking about Galatians-
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:31-39 NKJV)
2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
Our faith isn't like, "The Hokey Pokey," you put your right foot in, you put your right foot out and shake it all about. It's about faith. It's about taking some time out and reading a few verses in the Bible each day, praying for others and smiling at someone who needs it. Jesus will never leave us or allow us to be separated from Him.
7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.
I remember times when I wondered why things weren't easier. Why does it take so much effort? Then this peace would come and I knew everything would be alright. God has my back. He has never let me down.
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.We have no idea about tomorrow do we? Things can change so fast.
3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
(Hebrews 11:1-3 NKJV)
9 But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
(1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV)
11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!
13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this:“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
Yes even men bite and devour each other don't they? It's not just us ladies... I worked in business I know : )
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
When I work on my blog I ask the Holy Spirit to speak to me through His Word. It's huge to pray for the Holy Spirit's help at work, silently. Then good things start happening. Meetings get calm. People start listening to each other. Very cool.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
We are all forgiven when we sincerely confess and seek God's help. But for those who refuse to honor God at all, there's no place for them in Heaven. We were reading about that in Revelation. The rapture will come and the believers who have died will rise first, then those who are alive. After this happens there will be some left behind who will be given the choice again. They will need to stop doing verses 19-21.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self- control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another
(Galatians 5:1-26 NKJV)
These are favorite verses. When we dwell in the Holy Spirit our actions bring fruit to others that are blessings. I'm not so sure how good I am, but I've seen many great people and experienced the Holy Spirit's fruit myself. <not perfect at all> The fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. God doesn't want His people to be conceited, irritating or envious. I've honestly never been too envious, maybe sometimes. Just feel God has blessed me more than I deserve already.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I lift up those in France who are struggling with the violence yesterday. I pray You will bring healing and wisdom to our world leaders. Please comfort those who mourn today and bring special blessings to these people. I pray You will stop the terrorism.
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)
In Jesus' Name I pray,
It took me awhile to really understand this song. But now I get it, darkness is already crumbling...
Tree63, Sunday (link)