What will it take for everyone to know who God really is?

Not gods that are man made. Not gods that are just people elevating themselves to power. Not goes that are statues. Not gods that are made of wood or stone or metals. Not made up gods to explain away what is taking place. Not gods that are used to manipulate others. Not gods that ebb and flow because they are not real but the rules are defined by man.

The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it! He created it all! So let’s worship the creator rather than focusing on or worshipping the created!

There is but one God! This God is made up of 3 persons – Father, Son, Holy Spirit! Jesus came to the earth fully God and fully man in order to be our Lord and Savior! He came to pay the ultimate price that none of us could have ever paid by ourselves, no matter how much money or time or effort we could try to put into it. All we need to do to receive the gift is to receive Him into our hearts as our Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit came after Jesus ascended to heaven to be our comforter and our guide! He can help us in those tough times with wisdom and discernment.

So don’t bow down to man. So don’t bow down to things. So don’t bow down to stuff. For one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!

Do you believe it? Have you received it? If you haven’t, what is it going to take before you do? Is it a message? Is it a dream? Is it a vision? Is it an experience? What will it take?

Will it be something like what Egypt had to have happen?

God doesn’t rejoice when He needs to punish or correct people. He laments over them because His plan and His hope is that we will have a hope and a future. He sent Jesus not to condemn the world but that through Him the world would be saved! God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son! God is love!

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

–from 1 Corinthians 13

God is just!

Job 34:17 – “Shall one who hates justice rule? And will you condemn the righteous mighty One,

Job 33:5 – “Refute me if you can; Array yourselves before me, take your stand.

Job 36:6 – “He does not keep the wicked alive, But gives justice to the afflicted.

Job 30:18 – “By a great force my garment is distorted; It binds me about as the collar of my coat.

Job 18:4 – “O you who tear yourself in your anger– For your sake is the earth to be abandoned, Or the rock to be moved from its place?

Job 3:5 – “Let darkness and black gloom claim it; Let a cloud settle on it; Let the blackness of the day terrify it.

Luke 18:7 – now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?

Acts 17:31 – because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

Acts 2:7 – They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?

Acts 3:25 – “It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.’

Acts 1:8 – but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

And thanks to Jesus being our Lord and Savior, we know

5 All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.

–from 2 Thessalonians 1

We don’t need to seek revenge because vengeance is the Lord’s!Whether we read it in the old or the new testament, it is still the truth!

It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” –Deuteronomy 32:35

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. –Romans 12:9

So let’s invest in what will last for eternity! Let’s not worship things that will come and go! Let’s not lift up things that will just burn up or be blown away in the wind!

Do you know what will last for eternity? People! So let’s live lives that will help as many people as we can spend eternity with God rather than apart from God! Let’s help them to realize the hope that is within us! Let’s help them find that hope and pursue after Jesus! Let’s complete the good work that God has prepared in advance for us to do!

So let’s put our hope in His unfailing love! Let’s trust Him in and thru the storms! Let’s trust Him in and thru the valleys! Let’s walk thru each day building our relationship with Him! Let’s be willing to hear what He has to say! Let’s be willing to respond to His wisdom, His instruction, His direction, and His correction! Don’t lose hope! Put your hope and trust in God!

Let’s be alive in Christ! Let’s show the spirit of reconciliation! Let’s live lives so that others can see Jesus in and thru us! Today’s reading speaks to it this way…

Made Alive in Christ

1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are Godʼs handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Jew and Gentile Reconciled Through Christ

11Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with Godʼs people and also members of his household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

–Ephesians 2

Don’t give up! Don’t try to go it alone! Jesus doesn’t want to leave nor abandon you! So let’s put our hope and trust in Jesus! Let’s reflect on this last part of today’s reading together from 1 Thessalonians 3

1So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. 2We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in Godʼs service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. 4In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 5For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.

Timothyʼs Encouraging Report

6But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
11Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

–1 Thessalonians 3


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 29, 30, Psalm 147, Ephesians 2, 1 Thessalonians 3


Don’t be so proud and risk the fall!

You’ve probably heard that pride comes before the fall.

Pride comes before the fall

You might be that central hub or the connected, but you need to realize it’s by God’s grace! It’s not all about you! It’s about what God is able to do in and thru you. How can you and will you leverage your position to give God the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name?

Turn back to God before it is too late! Give Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory! And be generous! Allow God’s inflowing into your life to overflow into the lives of the people around you so that you can make a difference for the glory of His kingdom!

It’s interesting to come to this type of a reading as the annual review process is kicking off! God’s timing is perfect! He is never late and rarely early – He is right on time! God is good all the time! All the time God is good!

Are you one in authority? Are you a manager? Are you someone in leadership? Are you someone who has influence?

Don’t allow your heart to think you are god! Don’t allow in your mind thoughts that you are a god!

Choose to be a humble servant! Choose to be a servant leader! Consider how you have and can serve those you have authority over! Consider how you have and can serve those you are managing! Consider how you have and can serve those who are following you! Rather than lording it over them, instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who leads like the one who serves.

Remember and realize that you don’t know everything! Remember that wisdom comes from God! Don’t waste or lose it by allowing your pride to trip you up! Let’s choose to lead with love! Let’s choose to lead with compassion! Let’s choose to be ambassadors of peace!

We need to remember that everything belongs to God! We need to be good stewards of it and provide a good return! What will you provide as a return? Will it be 1x because you hid it in the ground and didn’t grow or develop it? Will it be 2x because you took it and invested in it and developed it? Will it be 2x because you found more opportunities and were a good steward so that you will get to hear well done my good and faithful servant?

Let’s align to God’s will and live out our lives in alignment to His plans and purposes!

Be a good neighbor! Don’t be one who nobody wants to be around! Be one who loves! Be one who shares! Be one who cares! Love your neighbor as yourself!

Let’s choose to have Jesus as our Lord and Savior! Let’s invite Him into our hearts so that His ways will be written in our hearts and minds! Let’s be transformed! Let’s be adopted into the family of God! Let’s live and share the redemption of Jesus with the world around us that they too may come to know Him and invite Him into their lives! Let’s bring unity! Let’s not forget how thankful we are! Let’s praise God for it all!

Let’s read Ephesians together as we consider this together…

1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To Godʼs holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of Godʼs grace 8that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are Godʼs possession—to the praise of his glory.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

15For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all Godʼs people, 16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

–Ephesians 1

So let’s produce a result that will glorify God today! Let’s share the love and grace of God with the world around us in faith which surpasses any fear from threats! Let’s live lives that give God all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name! Let’s live to please God! Let’s live to share the truth, the hope, the love! Let’s build unity in the body of Christ! Let’s love the people God’s brought into our lives! Let’s encourage them! Let’s comfort them in the trials! Let’s urge them to live lives that will glorify God!

As we conclude, let’s read thru 1 Thessalonians 2 together…

Paulʼs Ministry in Thessalonica

1You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 3For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7Instead, we were like young children among you.
Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 9Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. 10You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
13And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. 14For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of Godʼs churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews 15who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone 16in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.

Paulʼs Longing to See the Thessalonians

17But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. 19For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

–1 Thessalonians 2




Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 27, 28, Ephesians 1, 1 Thessalonians 2

Don’t be judgmental! Don’t taunt or find joy in the pain of others! Let’s do good to all!

We are to weep with those who are weeping! We are to celebrate with those who celebrate. Not the reverse…Don’t be kicking people when they are down. Don’t be mocking people when they are going thru troubles. Even if they are your enemies, we are not to hate them and only love our neighbors. We are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us! Don’t allow judgment and malice to take root in your heart! Allow your heart to be filled with overflowing of the love of God! Just because someone else is being corrected or given discipline doesn’t mean you should celebrate in it! Seek God in all your way! Acknowledge God in all your ways! Lean not on your own understanding of what is going on because you don’t know it all … the why. Don’t be acting in a way that makes you the next target! Do you really want that attention? God cannot be mocked!

Put your trust in God who is love! His love endures forever! Give thanks to God! Do not fear for the Lord is with you! Do not be afraid for God is your helper! Take refuge in God rather than putting your hope and trust in people. He is trustworthy and His love endures forever! Need help? Call out to God who is your help and your salvation! Ask Jesus into your heart and choose life! Yes, Jesus did get rejected even though He is the foundation and the cornerstone. So align to the cornerstone and stand on the rock of Jesus! Cry out to God and ask for His salvation and help you find success! Let’s praise God! Let’s exalt God! He is good and His love endures forever!

So let’s reflect on the words from Galatians from today’s reading…Let’s start with the plan that we are to do good to all…

Doing Good to All

1Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2Carry each otherʼs burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5for each one should carry their own load. 6Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Not Circumcision but the New Creation

11See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!
12Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh. 14May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. 16Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God.
17From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.

–Galatians 6

It’s a matter of the heart! We need to make the choice and choose to follow after Jesus! We need to ask Him for forgiveness and into our hearts so that we can be new creations with the old being gone and the new having come!

Let’s celebrate with others who have come into the faith! Let’s turn to God with thanksgiving and praise because of the grace and mercy He has brought into their lives! Let’s celebrate how God has allowed love to motivate the works! Let’s celebrate how God has allowed hope to produce endurance! Let’s allow the power of the Holy Spirit to break thru the lies and open up the truth even greater into the lives of the people around us!

Today’s reading concludes with 1 Thessalonians…

1Paul, Silas and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace to you.

Thanksgiving for the Thessaloniansʼ Faith

2We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8The Lordʼs message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

–1 Thessalonians 1


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 25, 26, Psalms 118, Galatians 6, 1 Thessalonians 1

How are you living today?

When people look at how you live, what do they see? When people consider your values and your character, what do they learn? When God looks beyond the surface to your heart and mind, what does He know?

Where are you putting your trust? What are you doing about this thought pattern?

Are you able to learn from the experience of others? Are you able to learn without having to experience it yourself? Are you able to respond based on what has happened to others rather than needing to walk thru it all on your own? Would you respond to what you read? Would you respond to what you hear? Would you respond to what you see? Are will you walk it out on your own and learn the hard way?

Don’t forget God! Don’t forget what He has done for you! Don’t turn your back on Him! You don’t want to face the consequences of such a decision!

Do you need things to heat up before you will realize what is going on? Do you need things to get so hot that impurities will be burned off? Is that the only way? Is there no other way for you to see what is necessary and turn things around? Is there no other way for you realize what has taken place and turn back to God and ask Jesus into your heart? Can’t you just stop before you hit rock bottom and cry out to God in humility and ask for forgiveness, asking Jesus into your heart and being transformed?

Do you realize there is real freedom? Do you realize there is a choice that can break the chains and free you? Do you realize that it can happen through Jesus? Let’s conclude and read from the end of our reading for today in Galatians and consider where we are at and where we could be with Jesus in the center of our lives! Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us through each and every day!

Freedom in Christ

1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
7You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. 11Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

Life by the Spirit

13You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

–Galatians 45

Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 23, 24, Galatians 5

What would it take to get things straightened out?

If your life was getting off track, what would it take to get straightened out?

If your family was getting off track, what would it take to get straightened out?

If you city or community was getting off track, what would it take to get straightened out?

If your state or province or country was getting off track, what would it take to get straightened out?

Today’s reading begins speaking to what Babylon’s part was in trying to get things straightened out. It speaks the role Babylon played.

How severe would it need to be in the questions posted above to get things straightened out? Would it have to be life or death level? Would it have to impact the good and the bad? Would you have to be riddled with fear or weakness? Would the threat have to be so severe that it might get your attention? What would it take to get you or people in general to turn back to God and align to His ways?

Would it have to be so bad and so terrifying for to get your attention? Or could a sign of heaven get your attention and get you to turn back to God?

What behaviors need to stop? What activities need to stop? What actions need to stop?

What behaviors need to be swapped out? What needs to begin? What needs to get restarted?

Do you see the bloodshed taking place? Innocent blood? Guilty blood?

What will it take for people to turn back to living life God’s way? What will it take to turn things around so that we are living lives of love? Loving God! Loving people!

Invite God into your life! Invite Jesus into your heart! Ask for forgiveness! Live as humble servants!

From top to bottom, from bottom to top, how will we align so that we will live with God rather than apart from God? Will we live lives of servant leadership? Will we humbly come before the throne of God? There is power in the name of Jesus! So will you confess, will you bow down before you are forced to? Will you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

So let’s reflect on the questions as we read from Galatians together…

1What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. 4But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7So you are no longer a slave, but Godʼs child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

Paulʼs Concern for the Galatians

8Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.
12I plead with you, brothers and sisters, become like me, for I became like you. You did me no wrong. 13As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, 14and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
17Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them. 18It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you. 19My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!

Hagar and Sarah

21Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.
24These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27For it is written:

“Be glad, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
shout for joy and cry aloud,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband.”

28Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave womanʼs son will never share in the inheritance with the free womanʼs son.” 31Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

–from Galatians 4

Let’s live out our lives as children of God! Let’s cry out to our Abba Father!

Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 21, 22, Galatians 4