Tag Archives: Galatians

Pancake Christianty

No automatic alt text available.Pancake Christianity. That was the title that came to my mind this morning as I read Galatians 5. My first thought was… that’s just goofy. My second thought was, “No, that’s just gospel.” Apostle Paul, for whom I read a lot, was speaking to a group of God’s children as to why they weren’t what they should be. Why had their service to the Lord been squelched? And I ask myself that question just about every day. And today I received an answer to one such piece of that puzzle.

Paul mentions three characters who play a role in the dilemma of the church of Galatia. The Judgers, the Judged and the Judge.

The Judgers

In verse 7 Paul asks the question “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” You can almost feel the frustration in Paul’s question. “You were doing great! Exciting church services, praising God, seeing souls saved, who stopped the glory spout!?” That who certainly implies that somebody had stopped the spout where the glory came out. Somebody had squelched the Spirit of God in the lives of the Galatians. But who? Paul made mention of it in the preceding verses when he spoke of the bondage of religion.

Why is it, that religion, is such a harsh word in my mouth? Because in the 21 years of my salvation, it’s what’s made my stomach turn. I came out of religion. The dead works of sitting in a pew and putting in time and calling it faith. When I came out of it, it was because there was a zeal, an excitement in salvation that created an uncomfortable buzz in the air of religion. Religion hates electricity. It would rather sit with the lights out than let someone see emotion and vulnerability to the Spirit of God, and so they judge all who create the buzz. It can be spoken, or unspoken; but when it hits the air of a church, that you have to be concerned about what someone thinks of your reaction to the Holy Spirit, the service is flatter than a pancake.

The Judged

Paul tells the judged that “This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” (Galatians 5:8-9) To country quote it. “God ain’t in that, and it’s gonna make the whole church sick.” It won’t take long for that feeling of judgment to spread and the Spirit no longer feels welcome to move freely among the people of God, it’s bound up by the law that says all of God’s people must look and act like this. Whatever the “this” is in any particular body of believers that is a matter of human opinion.

The end result for the “judged” is that they no longer feel the freedom to obey the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is what should be leading the church. Paul said in verse 4  Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” Their service would fall flat. You can’t follow the laws of religion and teach the gift of grace.

The Judge

The final authority on this matter is not me, or anyone else in the church. God is the only One that has the right to cast judgement on the matter of the church.

Galatians 5:10

I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.

Paul had confidence that the church would take heed to his words, because Paul had come out of religion. He knew every in and out of every word spoken by Jewish leadership. But the Lord had saved Paul, and brought him out of that dead religion and because of that he could preach that salvation was by faith, not of works. And there was but one Judge. And it wasn’t man. The man that stood in judgment of God’s people would bear God’s own judgment one day. But for now, our job as children of God is to obey the Spirit’s leading and beware of the rising of the flesh.

The Jury

There is no jury when it comes to the Word of God. God’s Word belongs to Him and the Holy Spirit will make known the wisdom of God to anyone who desires it. I had to pray my way through this blog today because it is a matter heavy on my heart; and under those circumstances the flesh can rise in a heartbeat. Paul warned in verse 13 of Galatians 5 “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

The feeling of being judged is one of the worst feelings in the world. It makes it very easy to retaliate with your own form of judgement against those for whom you felt judged by and oftentimes that is other fellow servants in Christ. It’s not our job to be the jury of those who judge either. It’s our job to love and serve one another. That’s what the world needs to see. Not more contention and strife in the church. Amen.

The Backslider’s Gospel

backsliderAs I read the opening of Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians this morning, I felt as if I should start this blog:

Shari, a servant of Christ (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead:) and all the brethren (and sisters) who are with me, unto the churches of Calhoun County. Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.

What a regal introduction. We take, or should I say “I take, my calling of God for granted.” Paul was writing to the churches of Galatia because they were believing a polluted form of the gospel.  Paul marveled that they were “so soon removed from him that called you unto the grace of Christ unto another gospel.”  (Galatians 1:6b) And as I read across those verses I thought back about the people that I have seen give their lives to Christ at an altar of grace and tsmhen were so soon removed. Those who I had watched walk and serve Christ. Not as those do who get saved and vanish. Which is often the issue with a soul will who comes searching for a temporary fix to a permanent problem rather than a permanent fix to a temporary problem. Whew! That a good word right there! But the folks I think on are those who I served with for years sometimes; and then one day they were just gone. Believing another gospel? They’d likely say no. Because they’re not serving in another church. They’re absent without leave, and believing a gospel for which they aren’t even aware.

The Backslider’s Gospel

A backslider’s gospel is perhaps what I would call it. For some reason or another they found their time could be better spent outside of the church. They occasionally come on Christmas and Easter. A funeral attendance will heap conviction upon their shoulders for a good thirty minutes after the service. But then they determine that Sunday is like any other day. And they can love God on Monday just as well. They have nothing to prove by being in church.

Just as I need to be reminded Who it is and why it is that I serve Christ, a backslidden Christian too needs a reminder. Paul said in verses 15-16 “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace. To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to which were apostles before me ; but I went to Arabia, and retruned again unto Damascus.”

While Paul didn’t go to where the other Apostles were, he was still in the ministry. He was preaching and teaching the gospel as the Holy Spirit revealed it to Him. He wasn’t called to follow the church, or the leaders, he was called to follow God. So be it when someone leaves our church and moves on to serve in another, I’m not concerned for their soul. I miss them, I’m like a mother hen I want all my peeps in one place, but I’m spiritually mature enough to know that’s not always the way God sees it.

But when someone leaves church for the house… no… that’s not God’s plan. That’s a backslider’s gospel. That is the one that allows you to believe that you can be “be just as good at the house as you can in church.” No you can’t. You’ll tell yourself that you’ll read your bible and listen to the word of God. For a while maybe, then you won’t. You’ll tell yourself that you don’t need Christian fellowship. Yes you do. All these things serve a purpose in your life that you don’t want to live without. You can survive. But not nearly as well.

The gospel not only convicts the soul of sin, but it soothes the heart.

Sin may not be continuously on your door step after you leave the church, but Satan will be. He’ll place things in your life to assure you stay away from God’s house, because even Satan knows you’re better off in church.

The fellowship of believers may cause a disagreement now and then, but there is no truer friend than that of the body of Christ if you’re in the right church.

The Backslider’s gospel is the most deceiving of all. Because it tells you “You’re okay.” And you’ll be okay until you’re not and then you’ll be away from everything and everyone that can help you make it through the rough patches of life. And then Satan will convince you that nobody cares. What a liar!

If you’re away from God. Get your heart and mind set for Sunday morning. Be in your seat. If you’ve not yet left, but you’re contemplating it, hang on to the back of that pew with every ounce of strength you have and then hit the altar and ask God to help you through. Don’t go to church for the sake of other people. Go to church for you.

3 Habits of the Heart to grow in Faith

chick pondering

See a need, fill a need

Galatians 6:10
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

The world is certainly filled with people in need, and so is the church house. The bible is clear that it is the responsibility believers (who God has empowered with ability) to fulfill the needs of certain people. Now… the sad part of this story is, there are people who take advantage of good hearted Christianity and cause us to question whether or not we are lending a hand or enabling someone who could have taken care of it themselves. I could tell you dozens of stories from my own church of less that reputable people staging themselves for assistance. But that’s where spiritual discernment comes in. A twenty year old begging at the door of the church may need help with diapers for her baby, but she also needs help learning to provide for her family and most importantly needs the Lord in her life. A hand out should always be a hand up. I have more concern over the needs of the elderly. Most of which will never darken the door of a church, will not ask for a hand out or a hand up but will suffer silently because that’s how their generation was raised. As a church we’re instructed to take care of the elderly… and to teach the young. Make it a habit to be aware of the elderly who cross your path.

Look more within than without

James 1:22-24 ~ But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

If I spent as much time preening myself spiritually as I do physically I’d be a much better woman of God. A post it note strategically placed that reads “Who were you today?” where you see it often would serve us well. Did you help or hinder. Show love or hate. Did any see Christ, or only you?

Give More, Take Less

Matthew 10:8 ~ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

What has God gifted you with? Money, time, talent? Likely all three if truth be told but assuredly He has gifted you with the power of the Holy Spirit if you are saved. If every day we made it a habit to give something away, imagine the blessings that we’d receive each day from God. Are you in the medical field… what a gift to stop by and check on an elderly person who will feel loved and honored that a person of your stature thought enough to stop by. Child of God… you have His Word, give it to someone today in some form. Have a few dollars in your pocket, or a cake mix in your cabinet? Why not share some food with a person living alone who never takes the time to cook.

These are not notions that we think of as  habits. Because they take a conscious effort to make something happen. Making something happen regularly is what we call a habit. It’s how Christ lived His life… what a novel idea! Is three too much pressure? Try just one!

About what you’re S.O.W.I.N.G.

CHICK POINT 2

Its harvest time in many of the gardens of West Virginia. But because of the extremely wet season I’ve heard many of our farmers say that their gardens have been swampland for the most part, causing a few things to grow in great abundance and other plants to rot away leaving a disheartened farmer for all his or her labor. Life can be like that too can it not? I try so hard to be all “spiritual.” I mean really, I’m the Jesus Chick; if you give yourself that title you better be able to back it up with some proof! But the truth is some days I’m fruitful, and some days I’m just a rotten vine with little to show for what my Master has put into me. But that didn’t catch God off guard, he left me some instructions in the book of Galatians 6.

Apostle Paul wrote in the closing of his letter to the Galatians the results of poor gardening.

Spiritually speaking

Don’t throw rocks in someone else’s garden and think that you’re going to reap a bountiful harvest in your life. One of the greatest struggles for me, who tries to live spiritual, is the people around me who live like heathens. They frustrate and suck the life out of me. And they’re everywhere! I turn on the news and they are there, Facebook… they are there, in my family… they are there, in the church…. They are there, at the grocery store… they are there, everywhere. And then I hear the screeching of the tires on Apostle Paul’s car.

Paul said in verses 1-3

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

Questions: Have I tried to restore them with kindness? Have I looked in the mirror? Have I tried to help?

Own it

If I consider my own garden, what have I planted in it? I need to spend more time proving my own work; studying the Word of God and living the Word of God so that I can be a testimony and a help to those who need Christ. I’m first responsible for me. It’s hard to judge the fruit of another person’s orchard when you take care of your own as you should, there’s little time for judging. And I’m pretty sure when we get to Heaven we’ll not hear the words “Good job judging your neighbor,” come out of God’s mouth, but He will likely have much to say about the condition of the soil in our own lives.

4-6 ~ But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

Whatever it is

We know the “whatevers” in our lives that are not healthy. Spiritually and physically we’re constantly gardening to the body and soul. From the time my feet hit the floor in the morning I begin either sowing to the spirit or to the flesh. If I turn on the television before I turn on God, flesh. If I eat donuts instead of cereal, flesh. If I care more about the physical house I’m building than the spiritual house, I’m sowing to the flesh.

7-8 ~ Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Idle Farmers

I don’t think I say it in judgment, just in reality, that I see churches filled with idle farmers. They come to church to get the store bought goods. The stuff that’s prepackaged and ready to eat. Spread out on the table like a banquet for royalty to pick over and discard the unwanted fruit. Church is not a grocery store, it’s a farm store and conference center. It’s where we gather together to hear and learn the Word of God and to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul took the time and effort to write a very long letter of encouragement to the church. It is said that because of Paul’s poor eyesight that he struggled to write at all, and yet he wrote the bulk of the New Testament. Paul truly cared about the church.

Paul said in verses  9-11  ~  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.

Nothing but the Cross

For me, work and service come easy. Often times it’s so I’ll feel vindicated or accepted by those I serve; both of which are wrong because in so doing I’m sewing to the flesh to make me feel better. I certainly need to serve but not to prove myself to anyone, I need only to prove to Christ that I am a new creature because of what He did for me on the cross. Many of the Jews who had gotten saved had a hard time separating the works of man from the grace of Christ. Even circumcision was viewed as a part of salvation. Sowing and reaping is not to bring our work before the Lord and say look what I’ve done, but rather to keep the harvest coming till the Lord returns. Then and only then will we discover what the fruits of our labor have been.

12-16 ~  As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Grace. Enjoy it.

If we sow seeds of grace in the lives of others, I believe we’ll reap and enjoy grace in our own lives, including forgiveness for all those times of sowing to the flesh.

17-18 ~ From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.