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!

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 2:11-21

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

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Father, may Gal. 2:20 be a way in which my life could be described:

I HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST …

When I accepted You, when I chose to believe that Jesus is my Savior, my old self was nailed to the cross with Him.  Yet, as with all of us, what a struggle there seems to be with leaving it there and not taking it up again and again.  In reality, crucifixion is a final death with much agony.  Perhaps, the struggle we humans engage in is not so much our trying to take up our own life and get off the cross, but rather with the pain of hanging and waiting for our old self to die …like the pain of a body hanging on a cross, trying to keep breathing… If we’d just cease attempting to stretch for another breath and make our Lord’s words our own:  “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit… It is finished.” — Perhaps, then it would be final; we might cease to struggle so much with the old self.

… AND I NO LONGER LIVE …

Let it not be my own will that moves my body or determines what my mind will think on.  Let it be You, Lord, alive in me and in control.

… BUT CHRIST LIVES IN ME …

Make my heart Your home, Jesus.  Move into any room You choose.  May You have the freedom to tidy up, affirm the arrangement of things, make alterations where You see fit, savor the decorations, sample the cuisine, … Make Yourself at home, enjoy Your residence in the castle of my heart.  Fill my “house” with Your light of joy, visible from the outside, because You, my King, dwell within me.

… THE LIFE I LIVE IN THE BODY …

Thank You for this life You have supplied and designed called me! Thank You for gifting me with being me… creating me for such a time as this, with such a purpose as Your very own, and with such a Father as You!

… I LIVE BY FAITH IN THE SON OF GOD …

Let me be found believing You can do whatever is needed; trusting You will do what’s the very best for me; and having faith in You, that You’ll be faithful to Your Word.

“Living by faith” seems much like swinging in a swing, which is on ropes not tied to a tall, sturdy earthbound tree, but rather ropes that are held between the fingers of Your hand, Lord.  I can stay in the swing or get out.  I can just hang there and cling to the ropes, fearful of being dropped or hurt.  OR, by trusting in You, I can lean back and forth, getting a motion going… sailing through the air, legs outstretched, leaning back, cutting through the air, then, leaning forward, legs tucked in, to go back for another slice at the air! … soaring higher and higher… And in the swing of my life, held by Your almighty and capable hand, I am safe, secure and free!

… WHO LOVED ME …

Jesus, You chose to leave the richness of heaven to come be a human like me.  You did it to serve me.  You did all that You did for love alone, the greatest love ever known… not for any marvelous thing I’ve done. Rather, You came because of the disobedient, sinful things I’ve done and thought.  Your love is big enough to love me in spite of the hurt I cause You by sin.  Your love is strong and will never tire, fade, wear out or end!  Thank You for enveloping me in this love, and keep me ever realizing the vastness of it moment by moment.

… AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR ME.

Thank You, Father, for demonstrating Your love for me by appearing in flesh, sending Your Son, …to be like me, to live like I live, and to die for the sins I do.  Thank You for Your sacrifice which provides the key which frees me from sin’s prison.  Your resurrection assures me of my own transformation to a new life, indestructible by death and immovably held in Your hand! Amen.

trustme

Galatians 1:11-2:10

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

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Precious Father, every step of the way, from my conception right up to this bit of oxygen I just took in, Your hand has been at work to fashion my life.  From my mother’s womb, You have set me apart, called me by Your grace–“by shear generosity”–and, in pleasure, designed my life so that Your Son is revealed in me, so that I might proclaim Him as I go. . . wherever, whenever.

Jesus, You are Truth. . . embodied, written, and alive!  May my heart and mind remain in You, the same as abiding in Truth.  Though this world around me tells me there is no truth or that there are many truths, let me not give in to those lies and deceptions, “so that the truth of the gospel might remain” in me.  Let the simple truth of Jesus become something that naturally comes from my lips and is evident in my life.

You have created me to serve in Your kingdom.  You equip me for doing just what You have for me to do. . . sometimes that’s clearly seen, sometimes it’s a mystery.  Either way, I can know that You know, and can rest in that. . . May my heart be available to You, for You to use me as You will.  May others see YOU in me and hear Your Word from me, so that their response might be one of recognition and worship of You!

The words You had Isaiah pen, Lord, . . . envelope me with what they reveal of You to me, for You say, even to me:  “you, [My servant, whom I have chosen,… I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you.  I said, `You are My servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.  So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am YOUR God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand, [My Son]. … For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.  Do not be afraid, for I MYSELF will help you.”  (Is 41:8-10, 13-14)

Wrap me up in You, Lord, and assure me beyond anything I could imagine that You consider me precious, wonderful, complete, totally acceptable, and worthy of all of Your love!  Cause my heart to only need Your approval, Your acceptance, Your secure hope, …. to simply need YOU… and to count anything, everything else just blessings from Your hand entrusted to me for a time.

Thanks for Your faithfulness.  Thanks for sharing a taste of Your goodness with us.  Thanks for holding us close and considering us Your very own!  Make us just like Jesus.  Amen.

Galatians 1:1-10

Papa, You’ve set me free from any chain that tries to bind me
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Father, thank You for the grace and peace You pour out through Jesus! Thank You for His sacrifice, His self-less giving of Himself, so that we might be rescued from the evil in this world. Because of this act, I can know and fully experience these two words: grace and peace–as reality each day! Your rescue, Your gift, Your Son in me—all are part of and according to Your will! To You, my God and Father, be all glory forever and ever!

You have seen to it that I know Your Word. Over the years You’ve taught me Your precepts … You’ve revealed Your ways. In these days when so MANY voices are expressing a variety of opinions regarding how to get to You, how to know You, how to follow You,… keep me tethered tightly to Your Truth. Grant me Your discernment, so that I am so intimately familiar with YOU, the Genuine One, that any counterfeit teaching, image, or thinking so evidently stand out as NOT of You.

Let me not give in to the temptation of trying to win the approval of people, trying to please them. Rewire me thinking so that my desire is to please You alone.

You have called me to be YOUR servant— “sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead.” Set my gaze solely on You. Satisfy my seeking with the assurance that You have given me all the approval I’ll ever need. . . That’s what Jesus’ death said: “You, My child, were unworthy, but I have made You worthy, approved, free and whole by offering My one and only Son in Your place.” (Thank You, Father!)

May my heart seek You alone.
May my eyes be fixed on Jesus.
May my mind be full of Your Word.
May my life be centered in Your will.
May all of me, my entire being, love all You are.
Make me just like Jesus, Daddy. 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.