Five Minute Friday : LOYAL

Today I’m writing along with many bloggers at Five Minute Friday on the topic LOYAL. We write for 5 minutes on a given prompt, no edits.

Five Minute Friday - Loyal

I’m going to go ahead and declare up front, that you and I, we are Loyals! (If there is such a word😉 ) The definition of loyal is “showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution“. By virtue of the definition alone, we can admit that we are loyal. It’s a 2 part explanation.

First, to be loyal, we need to have firm faith or belief in the thing or person we support. We have been saved by faith, through grace. Not our works, but His. (Ephesians 2:8) He is the object of our faith. We have faith in God who established this salvation for us. By virtue of our faith in Him, we are loyal.

Second, loyalty is a constant and continuous support or allegiance . When we have our close walk with God, each day and each moment of our lives, we exhibit loyalty. Loyalty to our creator and Savior by walking in His steps and obeying His commands. By believing in Christ Jesus we have declared He is the true God, when the rest of the world is still in darkness from this truth. (John 3:33)

FInally, while we may be loyal by faith and following Christ, we also have to be professing the faith. We don’t have to stick to the definition, we are called to go beyond that. Showing faith and constant support is not enough. We have to give our loyalty to God some action and profess what we believe. That way, we will draw many loyal followers for Christ!

Memory Verses from Galatians

We have been digging deep in to the Epistle of Galatians here in the blog. During the study we emphasized some important phrases, terms and key verses. What better way to maximize the study than to memorize some of the key verses from the passage! Here are a few verses that I found interesting to memorize from Galatians.

You can find these verses in my FREE memory verse flash card download. You can also pin these images, share on social media and however way you wish to help you memorize them. Let’s get started!

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20

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26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:26-27

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. Galatians 5:22-23

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And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9

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But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14

Let me know in the comments below what is the favorite verse you memorized!

Cross is Enough

As we approach the closing chapter of Galatians, Paul shifts from a theological teaching to a more practical one. He has talked about the One Gospel, Justification by faith, role of grace and freedom in Christ. Now he goes on to write how this pans out for a Christian in his day to day life.

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load. Galatians 6:1-5

The first practical lesson is when you encounter a fellow believer who has sinned. Paul instructs us to restore such a person with gentleness and humbleness. Lose your judgmental and condescending nature and extend love. We are in no way superior to that person. We are only human. The same thing could happen to us. How would we like to be treated then? A little grace and love wouldn’t hurt, would it? Paul reminds us that when we are in the process of restoring a person to his faith, showing him his sins in the light of the word, we are showing love and thus fulfilling the law of Christ. While doing so, we have to examine ourselves, if there is any such sinful nature in us, otherwise we will just be hypocrites. Verse 5 says that we are responsible for our own conduct.

Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:6-10

The second lesson that Paul sends across is about doing good and being generous. A recent study showed that Christians are the most happy people and the reason behind their happiness is their giving. We are called to share this wonderful life that we have received as a gift in itself. Through our time, money, works and faith we should be a giving to others. On this note Paul wants us to keep in mind a couple of things. First, our giving should not be from the flesh or in other words, we shouldn’t be showing off our charity, because those things don’t do us any good. Remember Jesus’ words, “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Matthew 6:3) Second, don’t be discouraged because you keep on giving and don’t receive anything in return. Sometimes you feel like you work and you work and you work, but no one notices. We all can relate to this one time or the other. Let’s take comfort in Paul’s words, “for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

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14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 17 From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Galatians 6:14,17

Thirdly, Paul reinstates what he’s been writing all along and the primary goal of this Epistle, the Cross is enough! Some might want to be circumcised, some might want to keep the law and all its teachings, but one thing and only one thing brings pride to Paul and that is the Cross. For on the cross, He sealed our pardon, and made us right with God. Everything we have and enjoy is because of the Cross and what Christ accomplished on it for us. I want to share with you these words from the song Flawless by Mercy Me.

Could it possibly be
That we simply can’t believe
That this unconditional
Kind of love would be enough
To take a filthy wretch like this
And wrap him up in righteousness
But that’s exactly what He did

No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

Let’s glory in the cross and this beautiful salvation that Christ has purchased for us!

Thanks for staying with me through the study of Galatians. I’ve learnt so many truths along this way and I hope I’ve encouraged you. Let me know if you liked this study and share your thoughts in the comments below. If this is the first post you are reading in this series, go to the beginning and follow along : Introducing the study series on Galatians

I’m linking this post with Inspire Me Monday

Love fulfills the Law

We’ve been studying a great deal about law and grace, justification by faith and the gift of grace. We know that we are children of Promise, a chosen generation, free from the bonds of law, set apart to enjoy the grace we have in Christ Jesus. Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1

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To the people who keep stressing the need for circumcision, Paul asks or pleads rather to not miss out on grace. “…you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” Galatians 5:4 Because we who have been born again and have the Spirit of God dwelling within us, we have the hope of righteousness by faith in us. The Spirit works in us and provides us the affirmation that we have been justified by faith.

What does this mean for a believer? Does this mean that the minute we are saved, we are boxed up and left to wait for Christ’s return? No. We still have a life on earth. Does freedom in Christ mean that we can have a life of our choice? Paul does not leave us hanging there.

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.” Galatians 5:13,14

Do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh. This liberty does not buy you the ticket for sin. We do “have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” when we stumble and sin, (1 John 2:1) but that doesn’t mean we can take advantage of it at every opportunity we get. Instead, Paul calls us to exercise LOVE. The 4 letter word that is the foundation of Christianity and everything it upholds. All law is fulfilled in that single word, Love. How true! When you show love, you fulfill all law and there is no reason to sin. Any sinful thought or action can be substituted with love.

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. Galatians 5:22-23

Notice the phrase “against such there is no law“. There is no law against love, none against joy or peace. No one is going to arrest you for being kind, good or gentle. What an interesting verse. So go ahead and indulge generously in these fruit of the Spirit and exercise your faith, your freedom in Christ. Against such there is no law!

There are clear marks for a person who has laid aside the works of the flesh and has decided to follow Christ. 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.” Galatians 5:24-25 The marks of a believer are significant. The liberty in Christ provides him the freedom to employ the fruit of the spirit in his life. 

Now that you have been set free from the bonds of sin and law, with the help of the Holy Spirit within you, you can utilize the works of the Spirit in you, with Love being the chief among them!

Read next post in this series: Cross is Enough

Children of Promise

Learning from Galatians Cover - Day 12

Towards the end of Galatians chapter 4 Paul takes us back to the beginning and provides a refresher course on Abraham and his two sons. Between chapters 15 and 21 of Genesis we find God’s promise to Abraham about the extension of his generation, Sarah’s attempt to take matters into her own hands, birth of two sons and eventually two nations.

The picture below expresses what Paul writes in verses 22 through 28 of Galatians chapter 4. God’s promises to Abraham and Sarah were true. It just wasn’t in their timetable. So Sarah decided to work on it according to her ways. The son Ishmael born to Abraham through Hagar the bondwoman is an example of attempting to fulfill God’s promises through human intellect and will.

Bondwoman and Freewoman

 

Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. (Galatians 4:28) Isaac however was born to Abraham and Sarah, years later, but according to God’s plan, fulfilling God’s promises. Paul uses this historical incident to reinstate the fact that we are children of God, born again through faith in God’s redemptive work on the cross. We are no longer under the slavery of law and everything the law holds against us, but we are free now. Just like how the son of Hagar, the bondwoman had no place with the son of Sarah the free-woman, we have nothing to do with the ways of slavery anymore. We have been saved by grace and we have to continue to radiate the grace and freedom in Christ.

30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free. Galatians 4:30-31

Today let’s take a moment to enjoy the freedom we have in Christ. Think about the price He had to pay to buy this freedom for you and me! Bask in the joy of this redeemed life🙂

Read next post in this series: Love fulfills the law

Five Minute Friday : HAPPY

Today I’m writing along with many bloggers at Five Minute Friday on the topic HAPPY. We write for 5 minutes on a given topic, no edits. Before I begin today’s prompt I want to let you know that the Five Minute Friday’s host Kate Motaung and Susan Shipe of Hope, Heart, Home have compiled the FMF posts into a book. It will be released on the 26th of September and one of my post is featured in the book! I am very excited and would be glad if you checked it out. Hop on to Kate’s blog for more information.

Five Minute Friday - Happy

 

I didn’t know until today that there is a whole lot of debate going on over the idea that happiness is sinful. Christians are supposed to be joyful and not happy. As weird as that sounds for me, I went on to explore the real meaning of happiness and the difference between happiness and joy.

Let me break it down for you real simple. Happiness is a state of contentment and satisfaction. The opposite of which is dissatisfaction, worry and unhappiness. Now does the Bible have teaching about worry? Of course it does!

Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25

Now while happiness may be a feeling when we are satisfied, we are called to be happy at all times. As a child of God, we are given the inherent hope and joy. In all situations, good or bad, we know that its not permanent, it’s fleeting. In light of eternity, everything is a passing cloud. We can choose to brood or we can choose to be happy.

Solomon talks about this in Ecclesiastes 3. I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

Happiness is a gift from God. He wants you to worry less and be happy all the days of your life. Here are some ways you can choose happiness over worry:

  • Count your blessing and name them one by one.
  • Remember God’s promises that He will see you through this.
  • Pray for the situation.

Minister with Grace

Continuing an earlier thought, that we are Sons, not slaves, Paul requests Galatians to put themselves in his shoes and take a look at what they have got into.

12 Brethren, I urge you to become like me, for I became like you. You have not injured me at all. 13 You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first. 14 And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. 15 What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me. Galatians 4:12-15

Learning from Galatians Cover - Day 11

They welcomed him like they would an angel or even Jesus Christ, they cared for him and were even willing to offer their eyes for him. The fact that these are all mentioned in the past tense can only mean that they felt differently now towards Paul. “Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” Galatians 4:16

How could one turn from being willing to give you his eyes to being your enemy? Apparently you could, if you are being influenced and persuaded by legalistic religious leaders. Who by the way, did not do these things so they could win people for Christ, their goal was that the people would follow them and consider them more important than anything else. They zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them. Galatians 4:17

Looks like the Judaizers were unhappy about this whole Christ and His followers situation right from the beginning. They were doing everything in their might to question His authority, education and leadership. (John 7) While it was entrusted on them to carefully lead the flock with grace and humility, they were turning them away from grace as much as they can and enforcing the law, so that the people could ever remain under their control.

You and I might not be pastors or leaders, but we have all been given the great commission. Go therefore and make disciples…” Matthew 28:19 We are all ministers of God’s word. Whether you are the spiritual head of the family, or a mom teaching Bible to your kids or a friend sharing God’s love over coffee or a stranger talking about the truth of gospel to a fellow passenger, we have all been entrusted with the word. Take a moment and reflect if you are ministering with grace. They might not be in the same page as you are right now, it might take days, even years for them to understand the truth, because the Spirit chooses to reveal it to them. Are we waiting in the sidelines with the banner of grace? Never stop sharing the word, but do it with love and grace.

Because the moment we start judging we come in the limelight. People start looking and probing in our lives. We will be measured by the same measure we use. And trust me, you can never measure up, no one can. Our hypocrisy will be visible and it won’t be a pretty sight! Paul was pleading with Galatians to wake up and look around. He feared that they might lose sight of what Christ had done for them on the cross. I want share with you Paul’s feelings through the MSG version because it cannot be expressed better.

It is a good thing to be ardent in doing good, but not just when I am in your presence. Can’t you continue the same concern for both my person and my message when I am away from you that you had when I was with you? Do you know how I feel right now, and will feel until Christ’s life becomes visible in your lives? Like a mother in the pain of childbirth. Oh, I keep wishing that I was with you. Then I wouldn’t be reduced to this blunt, letter-writing language out of sheer frustration. Galatians 4:18-20

Do you make Christ visible in your life? When given the chance, do you minister with grace? By grace you have been saved, extend a little grace to others today!

I’m linking this with Inspire Me Monday and Testimony Tuesday

Read next post in this series: Children of Promise