Galatians, Grumblers and God Penpals Alike, 24NOV – #980

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I am thinking that Facebook, in becoming our latest system for venting, shows us that people who speak nicely in person and during the day, can then online endlessly swear and be filled with dissent and these days folks partake in conspiracy theories like never before. You never saw such harsh words from old and new restrictions due to the pandemic, you never saw such divisions fueled by the devil in this election season,  you never saw such GRUMBLING!!!!!!!  However, we do know Someone to Whom this is nothing new… Jesus has seen it all, been there, felt that. Oh how painful, so sorry Jesus…  and yes, Jesus taught despite all the bitterness in the world… Because of the dangers and trappings of living in this world, He gave advice for rising above it. It wasn’t unity in the government or in the fads of the day, but unity in the Spirit. One Lord. One mission of LOVE.

It’s like questioning if you spend time stopping or gawking about all the bitterness battles one by one OR spend time speaking about the One who Won it All.  

I doubt that I have ever seen so much griping about what people want to do over what’s good and prudent to do. The grumbling about stopping liquor sales at 5pm on the biggest party night of the year, during a pandemic, just now seems to have exploded my newsfeed… “People want what they want when they want it !!!”… I drove by the liquor store and wow it was crowded. I might get something too, but in moderation of course…  Corrective Scripture that comes to mind: “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. DO EVERYTHING WITHOUT GRUMBLING OR ARGUING, so that you may become BLAMELESS and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like STARS IN THE SKY, as you hold firmly to the word of life.” (Paul writing to his Godly penpals in Philippians)

We are observers and walk in this world, but we tend to be grumblers too – I don’t think we can help it even though we should. We of course are told to take the logs out of our own eyes to help anyone with a speck in theirs, meaning don’t pick on others without knowing you yourself are acting just as bad, and worse. Just as we have to know the different audiences that we are talking to, we have to know the One-ness of the Lord.

I am reading in Galatians today, and I appreciate the long-windedness of Paul, the writer and writer and writer…. but WHY were there so many writings? Oh, because they are letters to different groups, different start up churches, different issues, different failings. And there was no cut and paste on a computer program to make it easier. Letters from Paul were to be an education for all, but tailored to the right audience. Paul says to the Galatians, “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.”

A corrective penpal, at minimum, Paul wanted to warn and teach…  Yikes how people these days have opinions. People are people…. Paul knew that and all while under threat for teaching, he had to hone the tactics of sharing the UNCHANGING message for personally reaching folks. Paul reflected: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Paul details how it took him a long time, YEARS, to consult privately with the Lord. When Paul awakened (only Jesus was and is that One who shakes your world all while holding you, His touch is on a personal level as needed), Paul before all these letters was a changed man, ruthless Saul met Jesus – blinded and had to re-see.  So Paul commissioned by God did not FIRST go to people, he went straight to God. He realized God Himself “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.”

Paul continues: “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.”

We have divisions in the world now, and forever more. There will be MORE division based on the riches we have rather than on the things we lack. Before we fuel fires, let us bring our concerns to the Lord. 

Galatians, grumblers and God penpals alike:”Set your mind on things above.”  

Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces.” (Paul to the Galatians)

A prayer:

Lord, I’m a grumbler too. Lord forgive me. Make me a Thanksgiving giver and not just the Turkey. Open up my eyes to the goodness and glory, and not distracted by the grumbling, lest we all become goats… Lord, Morning Star, shine Your love, and help Your people Shine You.

Amen 

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