Galatians 6:11-18

Papa, You’ve set me free from any chain that tries to bind me

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Father, this passage in Galatians really highlights the effect that the opinions and practices of others can have on a person, even a follower of You.  Just like the ones Paul noted, there are so many of us believers who are driven or consumed by the desire to make a good impression outwardly, especially to the world, and to avoid any form of persecution for being identified with You. Many are more concerned with being socially palatable than biblically aligned or inwardly holy.  (Maybe we forget that Jesus was both and yet was without compromise…hmm)

These things I pray for me:  May I be found boasting—not about how accessible I am to unbelievers, or how well I can understand where a fallen brother is coming from, or anything that highlights my shortcomings in light of Your glory— but may I be found boasting about nothing but the cross of my Master Jesus Christ. “Because of that cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate.”

Thank You, Father, that the central issue here is not what I do or what others do—It’s all about what YOU’RE doing!  And You are creating something totally new, a free life in me!  You’ve said in Your Word that all who walk by this standard–new life in You–are truly Your children, Your chosen people … and You supply peace and mercy to us who do this and are Yours!

When I am tempted to downplay the holy life You’ve called me to, even around brothers and sisters in Christ, remind me of Your sacrifice, of the intent of Your action on the cross through Jesus.  You have extended Your grace to me . . . In Titus 3:4-6, You say that when Your kindness and love appeared, You saved me–not because of righteous things I’d done, but because of YOUR mercy.  You saved me through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom You poured out on me generously through Jesus Christ my Savior.  All this was so that, having been justified (made right with You) by grace, I have become Your heir, having the hope or assurance of life forever with You!

This grace You extend to me meets me wherever You found me, covering over what I lacked in measuring up to Your holiness, blotting out my sin that separated me from You.  Yet, Your grace doesn’t just move into the house of my life and sit around making me feel good; it decorates, redecorates and remodels according to Your will.  It does more than make us acceptable to You…

In Titus 2:11-14, You’ve said that Your grace, which brings salvation to all people, has appeared.  “It teaches us to say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives IN this present age.”  By Your grace “we’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life.  This new life is for right now and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when You, our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears.  (wow! 🙂

You offered Yourself as a sacrifice to free me from a dark, rebellious life and to purify for Yourself a person who is Your very own, someone You can be proud of, someone eager to do good.  So, Father, may what my Master Jesus Christ gives freely—Your grace, Your mercy, Your peace—be deeply and personally mine.  Oh yes!

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Galatians 6:1-10

Papa, You’ve set me free from any chain that tries to bind me

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Father, thanks for making provision for all of our needs, especially in the way You’ve designed Your Body of believers.  You have knit us together into a community over which You are the head.  You call us to care for one another, to gently keep one another looking to You, to encourage one another, … to love one another deeply  above all else (1 Peter 4:8).

As I interact with the people You’ve placed in my life, allow them to see You in my eyes, to hear You in my voice, to feel You in my touch—to simply know that they’ve encountered You when they’ve been with me.  None of this can be done on my own.  It’s not the “I” but the “YOU” in me that can only accomplish this.

Keep a guard over my heart, so that I stand firm in You in the face of temptation.  Inflame within my heart the desire to be holy and set apart like Your Word calls me to be. (Romans 12:1-2; Titus  2:11-14)

Guide me in carefully exploring who I am and the work You’ve given me here in Your kingdom, then guide me in sinking myself into that.  Keep me humble.  Keep me from comparing myself with others.  Help me to take responsibility for doing the creative best I can with this life You’ve given me.

You’ve pointed out the reality, Lord:  “No one makes a fool of You.  What a person plants, he will harvest.  The person who plants to please his sinful nature, his selfish desires, from that nature will harvest a crop of weeds.  All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds!”  Father, help me to be one who plants in response to You, to Your Spirit within me, letting You do the growth work in me, so that I might harvest a crop of real life, eternal life.

Let me not become “fatigued doing good.”  At the right time, You’ve said that I’ll harvest a good crop if I don’t give up, or quit, seeking to please You.  Right now, every time I get the chance, help me to work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to me in the community of faith.

Shape my heart, my mind, my life to conform to the likeness of Jesus.  Thank You that You won’t stop working on me until Christ is formed in me.  Draw my heart to yearn for Your presence…. and into Your Word.  Protect me from the distractions of the enemy… You’ve given me a spirit of self-discipline… help me, prompt me to allow that part of You in me to be in control of my day and not my own desires or the calls and desires of those around me.

Thank You for Jesus!   Amen.

Galatians 5:2-26

Papa, You’ve set me free from any chain that tries to bind me

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Father, thank You that Jesus’ death on the cross has unbound me to live a free life, no longer chained as a slave to sin.  Help me to live “freely, animated and motivated” by Your Spirit in me.  Keep me from “feeding the compulsions of selfishness”—that stem from “a root of sinful self-interest within that is at odds with a free spirit from You, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness.”  Living by selfishness …living by Your Spirit … the two ways just don’t blend; in fact, they’re in conflict with each other.  Your Word points out how futile it is to try to do both, because I “cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how [I feel] on any given day” and still live freely.  Draw me daily to choose to be led by Your Spirit.

You’ve given me a promise that when I live Your way, You bring gifts into my life, “much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others (love), exuberance about life (joy), serenity (peace).  In me You’ll develop a willingness to stick with things (patience), a sense of compassion in the heart (kindness), and a  conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people, [directly from You] (goodness).  I’ll find myself involved in loyal commitments (faithfulness), not needing to force my way in life (gentleness), able to marshal and direct my energies wisely (self-control).”

Lord, take everything in me that’s connected with getting my own way and “mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities” and kill it off—crucify it. May I daily choose to live by Your Spirit, according to Your Word… as I do, help me to make sure that I don’t simply hold it as an idea in my head or a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart, but YOU work out its practical implications in every detail of my life.  Keep me from comparing myself with others as if one were better and another worse.  You have supplied far more interesting and eternity-impacting things to do with my life.  Each person I meet is an original, hand-crafted by You.  That means I am too.  Help me to live creatively and freely in You, Father, as You and I touch hearts around me and point them to Jesus!

Thank You for your blessings this day, Daddy!  Really grow a bunch of that fruit of self-control and help me to yield to that spirit of self-discipline You’ve given me.  Garnish my plate with that joy or exuberance too, so that this season of life is a refreshing time!  Call out to me from Your Word … until I sit alone with You and let You speak to me.  Hold me close to Your heart and make me just like Jesus! Amen.

Galatians 4:21-5:1, 13

Papa, You’ve set me free from any chain that tries to bind me

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Father, throughout Scripture You’ve shown, in page after page, life after life, that You promise to accomplish that which I cannot do on my own.  You not only promise, but You fulfill Your promise.

You told Abraham that You would make his descendants of such a huge number that he couldn’t count them.  But like most of us, he only sort of believed You and he tried to help You out by having a son with Hagar.

WHAT a symbol of the times when I try to work stuff out on my own! . . .and then I don’t end up with Your best for me, just some shoddy shadow of what could’ve been. . .  maybe even sometimes, something so hideous that there’s not even a resemblance to what You promised.

Now, what You did later by giving Isaac to Abraham and Sarah was so typically You!  You say, “I will do this…” and then, You do what You promised… in YOUR way, in YOUR time—and there’s NO doubt that it’s of YOU!

There are promises You’ve made to me in Your Word that I need to believe and there are some that I may only sort of believe.  Grant me Your grace, Father, to trust You even more—to wait on You and expect You to act in my life, coming through with Your very best for me…. it’s the BEST for me, because You made me, You know me and You can see the “finished product.”  You have the picture on the box lid as You put the pieces of my life together… until the day I’ll be formed into the image of Your Son!

Lord, You’ve set me free from the old stuff of the law and the slavery to having to do every little thing just right in order to be acceptable to You.  Jesus, You set me free to live a free life in You.  Help me to make sure that I don’t use that freedom as an excuse to do whatever I want to do, to “indulge my sinful nature” just because I can, and thus destroy my freedom.  Instead, guide me in using my freedom to serve others in love, since that’s how freedom grows.

Where my thinking needs re-wired, where my attitude needs remodeled, do Your work in me, Lord, as You build my spiritual house in which You CHOOSE to dwell.  Thank You for residing in my heart–Your presence with me.  May You and I do this day together, as You make me more like Jesus and touch lives through me!

Draw me into Your Word, Lord.  And I’m not talking about some little devotional that points out an applicable verse or even a topical study. Call me to simply sit and read Your Word.  And when I do, do something in me that I’ve not known before. Give me such an understanding of what I read that I can immediately grasp what YOU are saying to me in whatever passage to which I turn.  Prompt me to ask You to unfold Your Word before me… to give me the ability to comprehend thoroughly what You have to say… Make it such an intimate experience when I read Your Word that I can’t wait to open the pages again… or that I have a hard time putting it down.  Lord, only YOU can create this in me… and I’ve seen You do it in me several years ago when I asked You to do so. Knowing that You’re the same God, I’m convinced that You can and will do this again in this season of my life. Amen.

Galatians 4:1-20

Papa, You’ve set me free from any chain that tries to bind me

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Father, how perfect Your timing always is, especially when it came to Your sending Jesus!  “When the time arrived, long ago, that was set by You, You sent Your Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that He might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law…”  By that entrance into human history, we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage.

Thanks for Your assurance that I am fully adopted as Your own daughter, because You sent the Spirit of Your Son into my life crying out, “Papa! Father!”  How wonderful to have this privilege of intimate conversation with You!  How assuring it is to know that I’m no longer a slave to the law, but am a child of grace.  Because I’m Your child, I am also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance You have in store.  Bring joy to my heart this day as I considers how deeply You love me and as I anticipate the Day I get to meet You face to face, crawl upon Your lap and be held next to Your heart.

Thank You, Papa, for all You’ve done!  Let nothing else be my utmost desire except to follow You.   Keep shaping me to be just like Jesus.  Amen.

Galatians 3:15-29

Papa, You’ve set me free from any chain that tries to bind me

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Father God, You are all-wise, all-knowing and all-powerful! … And You care for me!  Throughout the ages of time, You have been at work to carry out Your plan—and that plan included me, for me to have met You and to have become Yours.

Way back, You promised Abraham, “All peoples will be blessed through you….To your descendant I will give this land…” (Gen 12:5, 7).  In the meantime, You gave the law through Moses to “keep a sinful people in the way of salvation until Christ (the descendant) came, inheriting the promises and distributing them to us.”  The law’s “purpose was to make obvious to everyone that we are, in ourselves, out of right relationship” with You, and to show us how silly it is to devise “some religious system for getting by our own efforts what we can only get by waiting in faith for You to complete Your promise.”

Now, Father, because of Jesus’ death and resurrection You have brought me by faith into direct relationship with You.  You have dressed me in a wardrobe of faith—Christ’s life, the fulfillment of Your original promise.

All praise and gratitude to You for granting me the privilege of calling You “Father.”  ‘Praise You for Your faithfulness, Your mercy, Your love, Your presence, Your ____________,… Oh! Daddy! You are just SO MUCH!!!

Thank You, Father, for all the good things You’re pouring into my life.  Thank You for showing me Your hand and for allowing me to feast on Your blessings in this season of my life.  Keep my heart in a place where I “trust the Lord with all [my] heart and leans not on [my] own understanding.” (Pr 3:5)  Keep me dependent upon You—especially in these good times.  (Just like Joseph had to be during the 7 years of good crops, so that when the 7 years of famine came You had made him ready. In all of it, he acknowledged Your hand at work in every aspect that led him to where he was and who You were making him to be.)   Remind me in each moment to, “in all [my] ways, acknowledge You,” counting on Your promise to “direct [my] paths” when I do. (Pr 3:6)

Thank You for giving me Your spirit of self-discipline AND Your joy.  This day (and this week) help me to be submissive to Your Spirit within me and to entrust all things to You. Assure me that You have provided me time for both doing the projects I’m responsible for and for enjoying the lives You’ve connected with mine.  Guide me in using the time YOU’ve allotted to me.  Guide me in using the resources YOU’ve supplied me.   Shape me continually into an ever-faithful servant of Yours.

Call me into Your presence daily (or even more than once a day) and fill me up with You. Thank you for also walking with me throughout the rest of the hours of the day.  Nestle me next to Your heart throughout the nights of rest.  May all that I am be consumed by all that You are as You work in me to one day make me more like Jesus—having Your desires, Your vision of this world, Your heart for Your people, and Your understanding of my purpose here. Thank You for Jesus!    Amen.

Ephesians 3:1-13

Jesus, be the Lord over ALL my life.

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Father, thank You for the gospel, or the “good news” of Jesus’ death and resurrection and of the salvation made possible by that once-for-all sacrifice!  Thank You for opening the door for Gentiles (non-Jews) to know You, to touch You, to become Yours.  Thanks for calling Paul to preach to Gentiles like me.  Because I can hear about Jesus, I can know You.  As I grow to know You, I increase my trust in You.

Through the working of Your power, You’ve given me Your grace and have called me Your servant.  By this grace, may I be found using the gifts You’ve given me by Your Spirit and the skills You’ve developed in me to proclaim the “unsearchable riches of Christ.”  Thank You for providing insight through Your Word into Your “intent … through the church” and Your “eternal purpose … accomplished in Christ…”  Thank You especially that “in Him and through faith in Him” I may approach You, my God, with freedom and confidence.

Thank You for the access to Your throne via the doorway opened by Jesus’ death on the cross.  Thank You for the freedom and the thrill to dance in Your presence, to be embraced by Your love and engulfed by the light of Your glory.

Make me a reflection this day of You.  May Your character, Your attitude, Your grace be mirrored by my life as You make me just like Jesus.