Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Remember the Poor

"For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles...All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along." (Galatians 2:8, 10)

- God worked through Peter in reaching Jews and He worked through Paul in reaching the Gentiles. The same Spirit of God who was at work in Peter and Paul is also at work in us, His children.

- Are we eager to help the poor and needy? Be kind, compassionate, and generous. "The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern." (Proverbs 29:7) "Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." (Proverbs 31:9) Let us welcome the marginalized with the love of Christ!



Monday, September 14, 2015

Preserve the Truth of the Gospel

"This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you." (Galatians 2:4-5)

These false believers ("Judaizers") insisted upon circumcision as necessary for salvation. In essence, they lost sight of grace and made believers slaves to the Mosaic Law. They knew nothing about liberty/freedom in Christ because they still maintained that one had to keep the Jewish law in order to be saved. The true gospel proclaims freedom from bondage to the Law (the yoke of ceremonial law).

Paul, other apostles, and elders did not give in to the false believers; they stood firm in the truth of the gospel and did everything to preserve it. We must do the same. Stand up to preserve the truth of the gospel! 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Persecutor Turned Preacher!

"They only heard the report: 'The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.' And they praised God because of me." (Galatians 1:23-24)

The churches of Judea had never met Paul in person but they heard the report about him that he who used to persecute Christians became a preacher and it led them to praise God. They acknowledged God's amazing power, grace, and transformation upon Paul's life. Only God could have turned Paul 180 degrees and changed his zeal for destroying Christianity into zeal for proclaiming Christianity to the world. We should also praise God for Paul whom God used tremendously for His glory and His kingdom.
When we hear of testimonies to the glory of God's grace, it brings thankfulness and joy to our hearts. Every sinner saved is a cause for rejoicing and praising God. God's grace is greater than any sin! No one is beyond God's grace. Our past mistakes don't define us. When we are in Christ, we're forgiven and free, made new and holy. God wants to use us to be light and salt in this world. Don't dwell on the past. Move forward in faith. Share your testimony; share what God has done for you, in you, and through you. Life (on earth) is short; live for God...live to make an eternal impact!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for Your redeeming love and saving & transforming grace! Please empower me with Your Holy Spirit and use my life to shine Your love and truth to everyone around me. Be glorified in me, Lord. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Alone with God

"But when God, who set me apart from my mother's womb and called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus." (Galatians 1:15-17) 

- When we know we've been chosen by God and called by His grace, our lives have a purpose. God is pleased when we reflect Christ in our lives and tell others about Him.

- Paul was stunned by Christ's revelation and realized that his former life had been wasted. His encounter with the risen Lord completely changed his life. From then on, he lived for God and lived to fulfill God's purpose for his life. He received the truth of the Gospel from Jesus Himself (the very highest authority); therefore, he's confident in his message and there's no need for him to consult any human being. No human's opinion or approval can add to or take away from the revelation of Jesus. He did not seek other apostles to confirm the call on his life. He knew God called him to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. First, Paul went into Arabia (wilderness area) to be alone with God. Solitude is good for our soul. It's important for us to spend time alone with God without distraction. Our soul will be refreshed and our strength will be renewed. In order to be effective in ministry, we must be consistent in our communion with God. In order to breathe out, we have to breathe in.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Please God, not People!


Paul bluntly (sometimes harshly) gave warning/rebuked. This indicates that he's more concerned about pleasing God than seeking people's approval. As servants of Christ, we must never compromise God's message.  Remember that the true gospel always is and will be offensive to some people. When we Christians live by God's Word, follow and proclaim the true Gospel, we will inevitably offend some people even though we speak the truth in love. Let us continue to live and speak God's truth in love, humility, & grace, and with respect, gentleness, & boldness. People may still be offended...so be it. I'd rather them be offended and know the true gospel than be deceived thinking they are doing just fine without Christ when in fact, they're lost and heading to Hell. We must not remain silent for fear of offending unbelievers when we have an opportunity to share the true gospel that can save them from spending an eternity in Hell apart from God.

God calls us to stand out from the world for Him and His kingdom, not to be conformed to the pattern of this world. The disease to please people is dangerous. If you live your life trying to please everybody, you'll definitely be sorely disappointed and miserable. Is your fear of offending people greater than your fear (utmost reverence) of God? It must not be. If we're honest, we'll admit that the pain of rejection is real. More or less, we all still like to be liked and approved by others, especially our loved ones. However, our goal of pleasing God must come first. Our worth/value is not and should never be based upon human's approval. Remember that we are God's children, dearly & unconditionally loved by Him despite our flaws and imperfections. He has already loved us with an everlasting love. We should not base our decisions on the opinions of other people, either. Instead, we should aim at obeying, pleasing, and honoring God in all our decisions.

Prayer: Lord, please give me the courage to always do what's right in Your eyes, no matter what others may think or feel about me. Please help me to share the gospel boldly. May my attitudes, words, and actions please, honor, and glorify You!

"Religion in America is big business. Scads of money, powerful personalities, huge egos, and positions of prominence, influence, and recognition are at stake in the business of religion, just as they are in any other business. There was a time when the concern of churches and preachers in this country was the glory of God and the truth of God. Today, like any business, the concern is for success. 
Christianity today is market-driven. The goal of all marketing is to make both the buyer and the seller satisfied. Consequently, market-driven churches, in utter abandonment of God’s glory and God’s truth, in their insatiable quest for success and recognition--do whatever it takes to win customers and keep them. 
Be warned! False doctrine and worldliness always go hand in hand. Worldliness usually leads the way. The early modernists did not aim at destroying biblical Christianity. They simply tried to make Christianity palatable to an unbelieving world." (Don Fortner)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Know the True Gospel

"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--which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ." (Galatians 1:6-7)
Paul was shocked that these Galatians got off track so soon after their conversion. They chose rules over relationship with Christ. They turned to a different gospel which is indeed no gospel at all. Anything that adds to or subtracts from the gospel of God's grace/the gospel of Jesus Christ is false. Sinners are saved by grace alone and justified by faith in Christ alone. False teachers in Galatia (the Judaizers) taught that one was justified by works of the Mosaic law (such as the necessity of circumcision). We must be so familiar with the truth (God's Word) that we may detect any false teaching/false gospel immediately and avoid being confused or deceived. Be careful; watch out for those who twist the Scriptures and change the truth concerning Christ.
"Heresy is not so much the total denial of the truth as a perversion of it." (A.W. Pink)

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Rescuer

“…Who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Galatians 1:4-5
Jesus voluntarily gave Himself for our sins. Salvation is God's gift to us. Jesus died so that we may have eternal life. "...Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good." (Titus 2:14) The righteousness and justice of God require payment for sin. Jesus paid that payment for us once and for all by His death on the cross according to the will of God the Father. There is nothing we can do to pay for our sin. All we can do is to rest in the finished work of Christ on the cross. He rescues us/delivers us/sets us free from the penalty and bondage of sin. He saves us from the present evil age (world). This implies ongoing sanctification. All glory and honor belong to God Who does not have to save us but wants to and does because He loves us!

"We have been saved from the penalty of sin. We are being saved from the power of sin. We shall be saved from the presence of sin." (Bishop Westcott)

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