Warning: Radical Change Ahead


Daily Bread #17

Read Galatians 1:11-

Questions To Answer:

What’s the most radical change you’ve ever seen someone make in their life?

What did they have to do to make this change happen?  How did they maintain it?

If you could radically change one thing about your life what would it be?

Paul states that he did not receive the gospel from men but from Christ.  Why is this an important assertion?

What proof does he offer of the truth of this statement?

Do you get nervous when someone says they received something (a word, a message, a healing, etc.) from God?  Why or Why Not?

How can you determine if something is truly from God?

Paul talks about his conversion, his time in Arabia, and his time with the apostles.  What do you think happened during this time?  How was Paul’s faith changed and shaped?  What did he rely on during this time?

All of Paul’s testimony continually leads back to God.  He gives God credit for his calling, his ministry, and his teaching.  

When we talk about our faith, are our words more focused on us or on God?

Why do you think it’s easier to talk about ourselves rather than about our Savior?

Have you ever experienced someone that was once hostile to the Lord but is now following Christ?  What made the difference?  What led them to change so radically?

Scriptures To Read:

Deuteronomy 7:6-11

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.

The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. 10 But those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him.

Ephesians 1:3-10

Praise 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. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

1 John 4:7-12

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

A Thought To Ponder:

I read this list of real warning labels in a friend’s sermon.  You’ve probably seen others like them:

”Do not use this snow blower on the roof.”

“Do not allow children to play in the dishwasher.”

“Warning! Never iron clothes while they are being worn.” 

On a Superman costume: “Warning: Cape does not enable user to fly.”

On a bottle of hair coloring: “Do not use as an ice cream topping.” 

On a cardboard sunshield for a car: “Do not drive with sun-shield in place.”

On a toner cartridge: “Do not eat the toner.”

On a portable stroller: “Caution: Remove infant before folding for storage.”

And my personal favorite – In a microwave oven manual: “Do not use for drying pets.”

We all come with labels don’t we?  Some are benign.  Mother, daughter, sister, brother, coworker, PTA President.  

Some are a source of pride.  State Champion.  Elite Runner.  Published Author.  Dad of Jackson.

Other labels are almost debilitating.  Grieving Widow.  Cancer Patient.  Recovering Alcoholic.

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul uses this label to identify himself:  Paul, an apostle.  You might think that he wears it as a badge of an honor or way to establish power and authority.  In fact, Paul is saying that his “office” as apostle is not to his credit at all.  He gives all the glory, honor, and authority to Jesus.  I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11-12)

Christian.  That’s a label many of us wear that might need to come with a few warnings.  When we wear the name of Christ, we aren’t saying that we are perfect but that He is.  When we define ourselves by our relationship to a Savior we are saying that we were lost, hopeless, and without any ability to save ourselves.   He’s the hero of our story.  It’s not a badge of honor for us to claim, but to point to what He has done for us.  It brings glory to God and not the spotlight on us.  I’m not ashamed of the name.  But, when you hear me use it I want you to look at God’s goodness and see Him.  I’m just a reflection.  He’s the sun.  

A Prayer For Change:

Author Unknown:

Gracious heavenly Father, how I praise and thank You that Your mercies are new every morning and that Your goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life.

Help me never to lose sight of the enormous price that You paid on the cross on my behalf and I pray that Christ may remain the centre and the circumference of my life- focus, every moment of the day.

I pray that in weakness You would be my strength, in sickness You would be my health, in sadness You would be my joy and in every circumstance of life You would be my blessed hope and the rock of my salvation.

And Lord I pray that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart may always be acceptable and pleasing to You  – in Jesus name I pray,

Amen

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