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!

2 Thessalonians 3

Carve the very nature, the very heart of Jesus into me, Lord.

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“…AS FOR YOU, BROTHERS, NEVER TIRE OF DOING WHAT IS RIGHT.” (v 13 NIV)

WHAT a challenge that can be sometimes due to possible consequences of following through with the choice of doing what’s right.  However, You have called and commanded me to be continually vigilant in doing so.  As with anything You ask me to do, You supply what I need to do it.  Sort of like Hudson Taylor once said, “God’s will done in God’s way shall never lack God’s supply.”

Here’s a list from this passage of what You bring along on our journey together…

STRENGTH

“But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen… you… “ (v 3 NIV)

You promise You’ll stick by me through every step I take in this life.  You go before me as my Guide through all things.

PROTECTION

“But the Lord is faithful, and He will… protect You from the evil one.” (v 3 NIV)

You surround me with Your mighty shield.  You guard my being with Your awesome power.  You come along behind me as my Rear Guard through all things.  Because of Your protection, my affirmation of courage can be, “I am a child of God; the evil one cannot touch me!”

LOVE

“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love…” (v 5 NIV)

May the Master take you by the hand and lead you along the path of God’s love…” (v 5 MSG)

Whatever love for others there is in my heart has been put there and nurtured by You, Father.  You planted a seed long ago and have been helping it to grow.  You remove my heart of flesh and give me the heart of Jesus, as You work inside me along this journey through all things.

PERSEVERANCE

“May the Lord direct your hearts into…Christ’s perseverance.” (v 5 NIV)

It’s the You in me that can keep me going when the going gets tough.  You’re the role model in my mind, who shows me how to endure through all things.

PEACE

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way…” (v 16 NIV)

It’s like getting a present hand-delivered by you, the Sender!  Whenever Your peace is needed, You hand it to me!  In whatever form Your peace is needed, You give it!  As we journey together, Your my Supplier through all things.

PRESENCE

“…The Lord be with all of You.” (v 16 NIV)

There’s never a moment of my life in which You are not present with me.  There’s never a step I take that You do not experience with me.  You are my Companion through all things.

GRACE

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” (v 18 NIV)

My sin deserved death.

But Your mercy said “no,” and didn’t give me what I deserved — eternal separation from You.

Then, Your grace said “wait!” and gave me what I didn’t deserve — eternal life with You!

Thank You for Your amazing grace that paves the road We take through all things.

You have equipped me with Your STRENGTH, PROTECTION, LOVE, PERSEVERANCE, PEACE, PRESENCE and GRACE as You call me to “never tire of doing what is right.”  Continue to teach and direct me in using this gear You’ve supplied for this journey We’re on together.  May I become evermore like Jesus through all things.  Amen.

2 Thessalonians 2

Carve the very nature, the very heart of Jesus into me, Lord.

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“…THE LORD JESUS WILL OVERTHROW WITH THE BREATH OF HIS MOUTH AND DESTROY BY THE SPLENDOR OF HIS COMING…” (v 8 NIV)

Too easily, we humans think ourselves to be so mighty, so ultimately invincible.  Some throughout history have mistaken themselves for God.  How silly we can be…

How utterly awesome and mighty YOU are!  With a mere breath You take out any person who sets up a throne meant to supplant Yours.

I see here in this verse how great and marvelous You are … and then … what Paul writes a bit further along just sends my jaw to the floor and moisture from my eyes…

This spectacular, all-powerful God of the universe, Creator of all things … CHOSE me, CALLED me, LOVED me, ENCOURAGED me and STRENGTHENED me (v 13-17)

“GOD PICKED YOU OUT AS HIS FROM THE VERY START.  THINK OF IT: INCLUDED IN GOD’S ORIGINAL PLAN OF SALVATION BY THE BOND OF FAITH IN THE LIVING TRUTH… THE LIFE OF THE SPIRIT HE INVITED YOU TO …IN WHICH YOU GET IN ON THE GLORY OF OUR MASTER, JESUS CHRIST…” (v 13-14 MSG)

Thank You, Father, for choosing me, for deciding to make me Your child.  Thank You for the invitation to walk alongside You as You are at work in this world.  Thanks for using me to touch lives daily.

“MAY JESUS HIMSELF AND GOD OUR FATHER, WHO REACHED OUT IN LOVE AND SURPRISED YOU WITH GIFTS OF UNENDING HELP AND CONFIDENCE, PUT A FRESH HEART IN YOU, INVIGORATE YOUR WORK, ENLIVEN YOUR SPEECH.” (v 16-17 MSG)

Do that, Lord Jesus!  Do that — all that!  Here’s my stale, frazzled heart — ready for You to exchange or refresh!  When You put a “fresh heart” in me, You affect my ATTITUDE.  When You “invigorate my work,” You affect my BEHAVIOR.  When You “enliven my speech,” You affect my TALK, which begins with my THOUGHTS.  Thank You for giving me Your love, Your help, and Your confidence, as You remain intimately involved in my life.  Amen.

2 Thessalonians 1

Carve the very nature, the very heart of Jesus into me, Lord.

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In this passage, Paul lets the Thessalonians know how he prays for them, the kinds of things he asks You to do in their lives.  I want to pray those things for me as well, Daddy:

You, O God, give me everything I need, You make me everything I’m to be.  Keep my faith growing and develop in me an even greater love for people than I’ve ever held and exhibited at anytime in the past.

No matter what hard times may come, keep me steady and determined in my faith.  Any trouble that comes is a clear sign that You are at work to make me fit for the kingdom, making me fit for what You’re calling me to be.

Fill with Your own energy the ideas You stir in me and the acts of faith to which You motivate me, so that it all amounts to something.  May my life honor Your name, Jesus.

Thank You for Your grace that’s behind and through all this–You, my God, giving Yourself freely and my Master, Jesus Christ, giving Himself freely.  Here am I –I give myself to You.  Make me just like Jesus.  Amen.