19th June - Galatians 5
18th June - Galatians 4
17th June - Galatians 3
16th June - Galatians 2
15th June - Galatians 1
20th June 2020 - Bible Reading - Galations 6
In his final book, just before his death, John Stott wrote of the process of ageing and becoming more of a burden on others. He did see this as a problem, he spoke of it being the way God has designed us to live. He used a brilliant term which I love, 'mutual burdensomeness'.
We come into this world totally dependent on the love, care and protection of others. We go through a phase of life when other people depend on us. And most of us will go out of this world totally dependent on the love and care of others. And this is not an evil, destructive reality. It is part of the design, part of the physical nature God has given us.
God has designed us not to be self sufficient creatures (although almost everything we are taught in the western mindset pushes for this being our great goal) we are in fact designed to carry each other (Gal 6.2)
a prayer for today
A prayer for today: Pray for the Conversations about Christianity course, currently running - that the gospel conversations may help those exploring Christianity, to see and trust Jesus; and for those who are new Christians to grow more confident in their faith.
19th June 2020 - Bible Reading - Galations 5
It was one of the great moments of the 2000 Sydney Olympics. A Young woman, with the weight of the nations exceptions on her shoulders...Cathy Freeman lining up to run in the 400m Olympic final. Just before the race began, the camera zooms in on Cathy, and there you can see it etched into her skin on her right upper shoulder...'cos I'm free....
She ran an incredible race, a race only someone who had shrugged off the weight of expectation and knew her freedom could run.
Galatians 5 celebrates the freedom we have in Christ, we have been eased of the burden of trying to please God by our efforts. We are free to run. The question remains, what will we use our freedom for? Galatians 5 is a call to run for the pleasure of the one who has set us free!
A prayer for today
A prayer for today: Pray for wisdom and effective planning as we consider how to structure our Sunday gatherings, so that the whole church family can enjoy fellowship.
18th June 2020 - Bible Reading - Galatians 4
Here is the change only the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ can make. In this world, as we come to him by faith we move from slaves to free people, from slaves to Sons and daughters!
a prayer for today
A prayer for today: Pray for those suffering in regards to their mental health, for whom this present season may have made things much harder. Pray that, as a church family, we can support those in need. Pray that they would know this support.
17th June 2020 - Bible Reading - Galatians 3
The bible speaks of 3 kinds of fools. There is the fool who says in their heart there is no god (Psalm 14.1). There is the fool that thinks God will accept them because of their works (1 Timothy 1.13). But in Galatians 3, the apostle Paul shines a light on the biggest fool of all - the person who has heard and believed the gospel of Christ crucified - who knows God as judge and saviour, who knows that the only way to be right before God is by the grace of God shown to us in Christ crucified, and yet while they begin the Christian life that way, soon think that they stay right before God by their own efforts.
Galatians 3 is a call to not be so foolish. Essentially Paul asks 3 questions, all with the same answer:
How did you come to new life as a Christian?
How do you keep going in the Christian life?
How do you experience change and growth in the Christian life?
To all three questions the answer Galatians gives is this - we are saved by the Spirit of God speaking the gracious word of Christ to us. That gospel brought us to life, keeps us alive, and changes our life.
Let us not be so foolish as to think we have done it. Let us ask God to do what he needs to in our lives to show us this wisdom.
Here is a clip of a band I loved in the mid 90s. This song was highly significant for me at a time when I had become a fool and thought I needed to earn the right to be right before God.
a prayer for today
A prayer for today: A prayer of thanksgiving - Lord - we rejoice in your strength. We rejoice in your victories. We rejoice that in you we are more than conquerors. We rejoice in your unending blessings. We rejoice in the joy of your presence. Thank you for your unfailing love. We shall not be moved. Praise your name. Amen.
16th June 2020 - Bible Reading - Galatians 2
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (2.20)
Here is the burning heart of our gospel and it changes everything for us. Here is how American Pastor, John Piper describes it.
The gruesome death of the all-glorious, innocent, loving Son of God for my sin is the most radical indictment of my hopeless condition imaginable. The crucifixion of Jesus is the open display of my hellish nature. And, second, when I see this and believe that he really died for me, then my old proud self which loves to display its power by climbing ladders of morality and intellect and beauty and daring dies. Self-reliance and self-confidence cannot live at the foot of the cross. Therefore, when Christ died, I died.
What then remains? Verse 20 puts it two ways. First, "Christ lives in me." Christ remains. He rose from the dead, and he took over where the life of pride and self-direction had died. The great and awesome mystery of the gospel is "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). Brothers and sisters, this is conversion. A Christian is not a person who believes in his head the teachings of the Bible. Satan believes in his head the teachings of the Bible! A Christian is a person who has died with Christ, whose stiff neck has been broken, whose brazen forehead has been shattered, whose stormy heart has been crushed, whose pride has been slain, and whose life is now mastered by Jesus Christ. "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me!"
a prayer for today
A prayer for today: A prayer of repentance - Father, forgive us for the foolish things we say, the wicked things we think and the heartless things we do. Cleanse our hearts, change our wills, renew our minds and enable our bodies to serve you. For Jesus sake.
15th June 2020 - Bible Reading - Galatians 1
On what grounds are you sure that you are righteous in God's sight? Do you think you can be sure of such things? And if so, what is needed to be sure.
Galatians is a letter about the grounds of assurance before God. It is a letter written to a church who have abandoned the one sure ground of assurance - God's grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
It is a letter to call our hearts back to standing on that ground, rather than our own efforts or religiosity.
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!
a prayer for today
A prayer for today: A prayer of repentance - Father, forgive us for the foolish things we say, the wicked things we think and the heartless things we do. Cleanse our hearts, change our wills, renew our minds and enable our bodies to serve you. For Jesus sake. Amen.