Unified Message

Galatians 2:2-5 I went there because of a revelation, and I laid out the gospel that I preach to the Gentiles for them. But I did it privately with the influential leaders to make sure that I wouldn’t be working or that I hadn’t worked for nothing. However, not even Titus, who was with me and who was a Greek, was required to be circumcised. But false brothers and sisters, who were brought in secretly, slipped in to spy on our freedom, which we have in Christ Jesus, and to make us slaves. We didn’t give in and submit to them for a single moment, so that the truth of the gospel would continue to be with you.

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After Paul had spent his time re-learning the Scriptures and preaching across the land, he went back to Peter, James and the other apostles to meet with them to make sure the same message was being preached.

One of the things I enjoy about Bible Study is knowing each time we come to a particular passage we see something new. Likewise, when we discuss these passages with other people we can learn their viewpoint as well. There is value in studying on our own and learning from other people as well.

Since Paul was a representative of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles (non-Jewish people), he made sure the same gospel was being preached by the original apostles to the Jews. I can imagine that Paul was affirmed when he found out he was preaching the same message as Peter, James, John and the others.

This should still be true for us today. We can study on our own, and we can learn all of these wonderful theological concepts about the scriptures. We can even preach and teach these to other people. But, we should not just rely on what we have learned on our own for the simple reason that we need to be able to back up what we teach when someone comes along and attempts to distort the message into something you and I did not intend.

This is why it is important to have a group of people (whom we agree with and those we do not agree with) to discuss what we have learned. Doing this will help us think things through, and give even more strength to the message when we can say that God is working through these people who are giving the same message.

There will be times when people will come along and try to make you and I change our minds and get us to believe something completely different. It is easy to conform to what the culture around us says and try to place these same viewpoints and opinions in the mind and heart of God. But God asks us to trust in His Son, Jesus Christ, and the true message of good news for all people: grace is available to all, we just need to accept this grace to allow it to transform us.

Many people to do not want to hear they are wrong, but we should be careful not to dilute the incredible, awesome power and truth of Jesus Christ. It is in Christ that we are free, not by following rules other people want to place on us to “prove” how much of a Christian and follower of Christ we are. Christ breaks us free and allows us to not be slaves to sin, but rather loving children who do what God asks.

Paul knew the people who were with Jesus while he was still on this earth. My guess is he had great respect for them because they had that opportunity. We all need people in our lives who will hold us accountable and to keep us on the right track. We all need “spiritual parents” who will walk with us as we do the work that God calls us to do. The work Jesus Christ is with us in. The work the Holy Spirit gives us strength, wisdom and all we need to do the work.

#LiveFreeInChrist

Look Beyond What You See

“Look beyond what you see” is my favorite line from Lion King 1 1/2.

The point being told to Timon is to not focus on the situation or the problem. If we allow ourselves to step back from what’s going on, we may be able to see the bigger picture; which may even allow a solution or ray of hope to be seen.

The Bible has a great story of this in 1 Kings 17:8-16.

The Lord’s word came to Elijah: Get up and go to Zarephath near Sidon and stay there. I have ordered a widow there to take care of you. Elijah left and went to Zarephath. As he came to the town gate, he saw a widow collecting sticks. He called out to her, “Please get a little water for me in this cup so I can drink.” She went to get some water. He then said to her, “Please get me a piece of bread.” “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any food; only a handful of flour in a jar and a bit of oil in a bottle. Look at me. I’m collecting two sticks so that I can make some food for myself and my son. We’ll eat the last of the food and then die.” Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go and do what you said. Only make a little loaf of bread for me first. Then bring it to me. You can make something for yourself and your son after that. This is what Israel’s God, the Lord, says: The jar of flour won’t decrease and the bottle of oil won’t run out until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.” The widow went and did what Elijah said. So the widow, Elijah, and the widow’s household ate for many days. The jar of flour didn’t decrease nor did the bottle of oil run out, just as the Lord spoke through Elijah.

The widow could not see past the lack of flour. Elijah saw and trusted God for greater possibility than what everyone else saw.

I tend to represent each person at different times of the day; mostly trusting God for the outcome and possibilities.

Who do you see yourself as?
I hope we all can trust that God provides what we need. Have you trusted in God today?

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Real Strength

One of the traits I have observed people attempting to show is being a “strong man” or “strong woman.” I believe it is important to be a strong person; however, it also seems that people may have somewhat of a wrong idea about what it means to be strong. These are some qualities that may provide some idea that show true strength (emotional, mental, social, etc). I invite you to study this list and see if something should be taken off or added.

A “strong man” or “strong woman” should:

  • be compassionate toward others
  • be able to listen
  • realize there are things we can learn from anyone
  • be able to learn from other people
  • not think anyone is beneath them
  • be the most loving person (without allowing others to “run over them”)

These are just some of the qualities and traits of strong people. What else would you add?

Why?

There is a simple question most children will ask and it consists of three letters–“Why?”. They are curious and are simply seeking out answers so they can try to learn what’s going on or the reason behind a particular question or statement,  etc.

As I have grown older, “why” has become a favorite question for me to ask simply because I enjoy learning the “behind the scenes” instead of what’s shown. Seeking answers to this simple, three worded,  question has helped me understand people and situations with a clearer view than just taking it at face value.

This question also teaches me and reminds me I do not know it all and that I still have much to learn. This excites me that I get to learn something new all of the time!

How often do you ask “why?” and listen to the answer? This simple question also helps us keep a childlike attitude when it comes to viewing the world and seeing people as they are. Not just their skin color or what they have; but as someone we can learn from and see how much value they have.