Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Galatians. .Week 1. .Fast Fact

Hello, hello!!
Is it hard for anyone else but me to believe that it is NOVEMBER??? 
 I do NOT know where the time goes!! 
Hopefully, you have been able to read through the book of Galatians once already. .
As I did. .I came to a few thoughts that I wanted to share. .

As I read Galatians, I was reminded of a comment from of the ladies in our email study last month. .
The first time she read through the book of 1 John. .
she felt a sense of panic. .
like there was NO way that she could be as diligent in keeping God’s commands as she felt He demanded. .
That sin is such a huge part of our everyday life. .
it’s easy to feel frustrated and overcome with the guilt of all of it. .
And the book of Galatians, if you haven’t yet read it. .
should set your mind at EASE!!
Paul talks repeatedly of grace. .
what IS that really. .
One of my favorite definitions given by James MacDonald, a great bible teacher. .
is Grace=Getting something that we do NOT deserve
(uh, like forgiveness. .eternal life. .a fresh start every day. .you choose which something you are interested in). .
as opposed to his definition of . .
Mercy=NOT getting something that you DO deserve
(a bad grade. .a long lecture. .DEATH for your sins) 
Another definition of grace is. .
unmerited favor. .
The book of Galatians does an excellent job of demonstrating the importance of the concept. .
we can NOT follow the law. .
that goes back to Romans 7 (if you chose NOT to read it a couple weeks ago. .do that today!!)
 And God KNEW that. .it is why He sent a Savior. .
to bestow us with grace. .giving us eternal life, even though we DESERVE death. .
I’m thankful for that gift. .and I hope you are too. .
I also wanted to take a quick minute to introduce you to the author. .Paul.
His story is one of my favorite illustrations of WHAT God can do to people. .
Paul was born in the city of Tarsus. .
His given name was SAUL. .
Jesus changed that to Paul later. .
He was both a Jew. .and a Roman citizen.
When he was young, he was taken to Jerusalem to be trained by Gamaliel, the most famous rabbinic scholar of the time. He was very well versed in Jewish laws, customs, and traditions. .
Even more advanced in the studies than many men his age. .
and was a member of a group of men called Pharisees
(these men were a bit like lawyers. .they knew the Jewish laws extensively. .and taught and followed strict observance of those rules, religious practices, and oral laws and traditions that they devised).
These men were rebuked by Jesus multiple times throughout the gospels as being people that “proclaim me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. .their worship is in vain, their teachings are merely human rules” Matthew 15:8-9. 

Paul had gotten so strict in his practice of being a Pharisee. .
that his main focus was persecuting Christians that were no longer following the Jewish customs. He was the one that approved the stoning of Stephen (a great Christian man). Saul’s life really changed in his last persecuting mission. .
He was on his way to Damascus (breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord) to arrest (and likely kill) some of the Christians there. .
on that road. .the road to Damascus. .
a light from heaven shone around him causing him to fall down, unable to look.
Jesus made a personal appearance to Saul that day. .changing his ENTIRE life!!
 It is a profound story. .found in Acts 9. .
take a few minutes today to read that story for yourself!!
After Paul’s conversion to Christ. .he went on to lead a phenomenal ministry for the Lord. .
and wrote 13 out of 27 New Testament books.
Another good evidence that God doesn’t just want “good” people. .
the people who go to church, have it all together all the time. .
and have never done anything HORRIBLY wrong. .
Who but GOD could take a murdering, slandering, blaspheming SINNER. .
and glorify HIMSELF. .
by making him useful to the ministry of Jesus Christ for all of time??
 I hope Paul’s story just makes you say. .W-O-W!!

So. .after a few tidbits to consider today. .
It’s time for our weekly Fast Fact. .
When did God become REAL to you?
I grew up knowing about God. .I knew that He was important. .
I did things that I thought would honor Him. .
and tried to live (for the most part) in a manner that He would approve of. .
It’s been over 16 years now that I truly KNEW that I would be going to heaven when I died. .
and that I recommitted myself to walk in line with His will. .
but in considering this question for myself. .
I don’t think He was “real” in my life. .
until the last 2-3 years. .
as I began studying more, reading more, and spending more time pursuing that relationship with Him. .
as I began to TASTE and SEE that the Lord is good!!
 I began feeling like He was hearing my prayers. .
that I was walking in obedience. .
that He was speaking in my heart, in a way that I truly knew it was Him. .
that He was leading me and teaching me in a way that I had never experienced before!
I knew He was REAL all along. .
but I didn’t REALLY perceive that REALITY of REAL until then. .
If that makes any sense!!
You may read the question differently than I did, and you just answer accordingly. .
there are no wrong answers today!!
THIS fast fact. .was probably not that fast!!
I realize that it was much deeper than they have been. .
and hopefully it is provoking you to seek in your heart an answer to it. .
Good for you!
I encourage you to answer sometime in the next day or two. .
I think it is good to own our stuff. .
if He isn’t real to you yet. .
don’t be afraid to say that. .
every person is different in their walk. .
It should be something that we are ALL aware of though. .
and thus the reason I chose this question. .
don’t worry. .
this is probably the most thought provoking fast fact there is. .
next week we are back to silly. .
though there will be a couple more deeper leveled fast facts in your future!! 
 Remember. .there is NO judging here. .
so please don’t be afraid of giving a “wrong” answer. .
the worst that could happen. .
is that you might give us something to pray for you about!!
Enjoy your day!!


  1. God became VERY real to me....the moment my young life changed overnite...the morning I finally realized that my husband had left with another entire world as I knew it changed...financially, emotionally, mentally, friends, family, children, # of jobs I had to have to maintain a living, EVERY. SINGLE. THING. changed. ... not all for the good...I cried, I threw up I lost 22 lbs ( a good thing ), I was angry, bitter, unloving, unloveable, hateful, TERRIFIED, lonely, weak, unhopeful, vulnerable, NON TRUSTING of ANYONE, questioned GOD, felt like my prayers were for naught,then one day a Bible verse slapped me around ....I dug in...rethought my prayers...remembered my faith....and life went on, I got my senses back....lost some friends, maintained some really good ones, cherished my kids...worked my butt off, realized how important it is to BE THERE when someone needs you....God did not leave me ...I left him...GRACE brought me back...GOD WAS REAL THROUGH A DIVORCE....
    Fast BEST friend on earth, the only person that EVER really loved me less than 15 world as I knew it changed mom went to HEAVEN...and left me on earth....I had a real come to JESUS talk with myself....and God was/is real to me again...I dug a little deeper, read more of the Bible, prayed a little more sincere and by golly got some answers....I may be a strong willed child that GRACE saved again....GRACE and GOD are good to me....

  2. WOW!! I got goosebumps reading your story!! I LOVE to hear about what God does in the lives of others. .thanks for encouraging me with your brave answer Robin!! I find that He answers when WE seek!! Seems to me you had the same experience! God IS good!!

  3. I was raised in a Christian home and since my dad worked at a church during most of my growing up, we were at church A LOT! Altho Christians, my parents did speak much of Christ, the bible, praying, devotions etc in the home, so I thought as long as you said you were a Christian, you were. God was real to me back there wasn't a relationship between us.
    Fast forward to marriage...because Scott went to church and believed in God, he thought he was a Christian. You know, be a good neighbor, don't steal, don't cheat on your wife, don't murder… all the works salvation stuff. I thought he was because he was such a good man, we went to church and he acted a lot like my dad (just a good man all around).
    Fast forward a bit more… we had a friend who was abducted, raped and murdered, through our talks about her going to heaven because she was a "nice person and God wouldn't send someone like her to hell" I was shocked back into reality that my husband had no clue what being a Christian meant and he had no clue about the truth of the bible. I began looking at myself… If he didn't see a difference in me then I wasn't the kind of Christian I should be… I started reading my bible, praying and slowly I began to change and he saw the difference. I don't remember how long he fought the Holy Spirit but fight hard he did. Praise the Lord Scott became the Godly husband he was called to be.
    That was in 1986… I was 30… today I'm 56...Real… God is very real to me today. I can actually see Him working in my life like you can see the hands of a clock move…when I talk to Him I KNOW He hears…when I read His word I KNOW it's Him talking to my heart…when life hurts I KNOW He has me exactly where I should be… when there is joy I KNOW it's from HIM… He is everything!

  4. Okay...I am back...I JUST KEEP thinking about God and when he is REAL to me....The moment I laid eyes on Sara as a newborn...PURE. MIRACLE. only GOD can do that....I cried with bewilderment and awe and gratitude that he trusted me to be a mom....again the moment I laid eyes on each of my Grandkids...the awe and wonder and PURE. MIRACLE washed over me again....and prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for letting me experience getting to be a grandma...I sit on my deck and watch the sun set many many evenings and he is REAL then, in nature....through the seasons of life and nature in the quiet solitude of 'my' spot on the deck....Beauty without any help from anyone...he is REAL...
    One more time....a time that hurts...but nonetheless a time when I know GOD IS the tender age of 13 a judge let Russ declare that he would rather live with his father rather than me ( my heart reeled with many many emotions) so I had to 'take' him to his dad....I DECLARED that I wanted to do this all BY MY SELF!!!!( dumb est thing ever...) ( I did not know that then )I know now that little boys NEED and want their dad way more than their MOM...regardless of how either parent 'is' we packed his earthly belongings and drove off for the 2.5 hr meet dad....I hugged him with my entire being and cursed his father, the judge, my current husband, life, everyone in the quick shop parking lot. EVERYTHING....then proceeded to 'DRIVE', cry,snot,spit,sob, weep, nearly die,throw up twice, scream, gulp, snot, snort, and absolutely positively have NO recollection of that trip home....I do NOT know to this day how I got home without having/causing a wreck...I walk in the door and Jene asked..."what in the hell happened to you?"...I could not even answer...I went to bed....FOR 3 SOLID food, no change of clothing or shower ( which is UNHEARD of for me), no contact with people...BUCKETS of tears...I really seriously thought I would DIE...from a broken HEART....I just could barely BEAR that...then at some point I felt a stirring in my soul....and kept hearing...the DEVIL himself wins if you stay in bed and give in to 'THIS'...I hate hate to be perceived as I begged and pleaded with GOD to take care of my BABY boy and PLEASE please let him live and survive and prosper and grow and mature and NOT HATE ME>....I got up showered and threw up for nearly 1 hour...TRUE!!! and showered again....and started to KNOW GOD was going to take care of him...and maybe even squeeze in some care for me....TOUGH TOUGH TOUGH love is what he gave it was NOT easy...but...he was REAL and I got better and Russ, matured and grew and lived and prospered and does not hate me....PTL....I still struggle with forgiveness for this act in my all could pray for me for this....I still do...this is all proabably TMI.. BUT to me I KNOW God is REAL....cause I can tell you about it freely...maybe with tears...cause I am a crybaby...Connie and I both are...Plus as an added benefit he gave me Jene...just when I need him the most...yes he is so many ways....

  5. I sit here crying as I read these posts made by both Connie & Robin. I have had personal experience in what Robin went through...the HORRIBLE feelings of loss when a child "chooses" dad over me! At the time this happened for me, I did NOT find the comfort in the Lord that was there for the taking...but I didn't make the right choice at the time. I wallowed in self-pity, I allowed Satan to lead me down a lot of wrong paths. With each wrong choice, I hurt my children even more. I am just so grateful that my children still love me in spite of my bad choices.
    My God started becoming real to me when Tom was having medical problems about 9 years ago this time of year. First a bout of pneumonia. Then, a couple of months later, another bout of pneumonia. A doctor with a hunch, even though she was visiting in India at the time, insisting that a "follow-up" xray be done, "cause something's just not right". Trips to Pratt for C-T scans, then on to Wichita for PET scans, doctor visits, more doctor visits, until the final decision is made: cancer in a lung, the only option for a real cure is removal of that lung. Take the lung, throw the cancer away.
    The maternal need is to FIX the problem, & the realization, or perhaps God applying a 2x4 to my hard head to get my attention: Cindy can not "fix" this, but God can. Bringing me to my knees in the chapel, asking Him for forgiveness for ALL my wrong choices, for allowing satan to weasel his way into my heart & mind...first He did relieve ALL my self-incriminating thoughts for ALL the wrong things I'd chosen.
    Then, He gave me the calm assurance that I needed to help my husband recover from that surgery. God became real, & I was able to say to anyone that asked about Tom's health, "Tom is still with us, without need of further treatment, because God answered my prayers"
    Now, I still wasn't deep enough into my faith. That realization really didn't hit me immediately after Tom's first year of "cancer-free" fact, I was still a surface-Christian. I saw God's works in the beautiful scenery of our earth; in the births of grandchildren & now great-grandchildren; BUT, I was STILL not doing what GOD wants us to do...LEARN more about HIM!
    The power of prayer was brought very near to me when Pastor Gary went through his hospital stay & came out alive. I really, really worked on saying prayers. Not asking for myself, but others.
    And, the "final" reality check for me has been the unheaval of our life. The closing of the laundry, the need to sell the building, the financial changes brought about by that burden, and now, nearly out from under that financial elephant sitting on our chest...I realized that I can & should pray for specific needs for myself & Tom, prayer doesn't need to be only for others. A sermon delivered by our lay speaker, Pat Puderbaugh, came crashing down on me just a few months ago. How to pray; for your own needs, and the prayer needed most often, "Thank you".
    So, I have to say that God is becoming more real every day as I am spending time reading the Bible. I still don't know enough to engage in intelligent conversation, but I "see" through the words written by Mel, by Robin, by Connie. I find that many of my thoughts are shared by others that have gone through, or "been there", & I'm still searching...

  6. WOW Ladies!! It's a process isn't it!! Sometimes He gives us small situations to get through to increase our faith a little at a time. .and sometimes He dumps a ginormous problem right into our laps to advance our walk with Him. .I thank you all so much for your honesty. .and as I was telling the girls in my email study last night. .Paul reminds us so many times that we need to bear the burdens of each other. .and we need to encourage each other in our faith. .I think human nature (at least mine is) to make it all look good on the outside and no one will ever know what is on the inside. .but God knows. .and I think He has put us together in this study. .to do just that. .learn about each other, learn about God, realize where we are in our hearts, study His word. .and encourage our brothers and sisters in God's family!! Awesome job this week!! I'm hoping to see where Galatians tags you each this week too!!

  7. I have had my share of bad choices and wrong paths. I have always knew that there is a God but I never really seeked him out for many years. Then when I had to deal with a couple of major losses. God shut the door and opened a window to a new life and that is mys husband and two children. That is when I realized I wanted more for my family and me. It took me a while to get where i am today. I cannot say I fully know the Lord but I am on the path that one day, I can say I KNOW him... He is good! I don't deserve his love BUT God does love me. He is the only one I can put my 100% trust in and know I will be okay because He has the perfect plan for my life.

  8. Mel, Robin, Cindy & Tanya… I just wanted to say… I love you all!

  9. Tanya. .glad to have you climb aboard with us!! Thanks ladies for all your honesty and love!