Galatians

Guest Post by Jennifer Adams


Galatians 3:1-6:18 & Genesis 1:1-25

“So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.” Galatians 3:9

OK, so I’ve got a ton of stuff going on right now. I’m working almost 30 hours a week at work, the kids are both in tennis, I still need to put some kind of dinner on the table, and oh I’m rambling and complaining and you get the idea. Anyway, I asked my friend Jennifer Adams if she would be willing to write something for today’s post. And she was gracious enough to share a video that she made with her own hearts from God! 😀

It was so wonderful to sit and watch God’s wonderous love* for her, play out before my eyes, knowing that it all happened because I shared my story with her. Today, please enjoy this video from my friend, author Jennifer Adams.

*See How Much I Love You: SHMILY

Categories: 365 Life, Galatians, Genesis | Leave a comment

Sunday SHMILY

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Ezra 9:1-10:44 & Galatians 1:1-2:21
“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would no longer be Christ’s servant.” Galatians 1:10
I was impressed this morning how part of the message at church this morning went with the Ezra reading AND the Galatians reading. Accountability. We are not here to win the approval of people but of God. We’re here to win souls! And to do that requires stepping out of our comfort zone and hold each other accountable. If your brother (or sister) is falling into a pit of sin it’s your job to risk their wrath in order to save you both from God’s. You need to love them enough to help them in Jesus’s name.

Here’s this week’s SHMILY line up:

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A silly smile after breakfast.

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My first FRUIT!

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A sweat bee on my steering wheel at tennis practice.

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Another breakfast smile. This one was Anna’s, she asked me to take a picture of it.

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GRIN.

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More produce from the garden. 🙂

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A GORGEOUS sunset after a doozy of a storm while I was at work.

Categories: 365 Life, Ezra, Galatians, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

The Gospel Truth


Galatians 3:1-6:18 & Genesis 1:1-25

“For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” Galatians 6:15

I particularly love that God had us end Galatians with this scripture about the importance of realizing that we have been made new through Christ, then follows that with what else but the creation story! It’s poetry!

There is a key truth hidden amongst all the gospels and many of the letters of the New Testament that took me years to realize. “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14 Tell me my friend, if you don’t love yourself, how then will you ever be able to love your neighbor? And how can you love yourself if you only ever see the things in yourself that you don’t love?

You know that’s what we do, especially we women! We nitpick every single little thing about our bodies and about our personalities. Very often we hate ourselves.

God took me through a season in my life where I was extremely legalistic. I paid so much attention to myself and what I was doing and what I was thinking and mentally scolding myself for every single little thing that I became completely wrapped up in my sin. It became the only thing I could think about. And because we can always see the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye better than we can see the log in our own eyes, my sin wasn’t the only sin I was focusing on!

I was one of the most judgmental, critical, condemning people I knew. And I hated myself. I hated that no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t obey the law. I couldn’t keep from being angry with others and calling them things in my head. I couldn’t keep from seeing every single little thing they were doing and thinking of how they were sinning and should be repenting and asking for forgiveness. You know, they should be just like me, constantly begging God to forgive the little sinner girl who can’t do anything but sin.

Then slowly, bit by bit, God began revealing His radical Grace to me with questions. I was introduced to this man who had experienced the same type of legalistic season in his life. His attention had been constantly trained to look for sin in order to flush it out of his life. He was desperately in love with God and was fearful of God’s wrath in his life if he didn’t constantly ask for forgiveness for every little thing he had done or thought. As he told his story I felt so connected to him, because I felt the same way! I was acting in the same manner and I didn’t like the way that it felt, but I didn’t know any other way. It’s what I had always been taught, relationship through religion.

But little did I know that relationship with God doesn’t come through religion, works of the flesh, the things that we DO. Relationship with God comes through faith in the One and Only Jesus Christ. Through being introduced to this man and his testimony I began to question my methods. Was I focusing too much on myself? Could there be any other way? A way where instead of focusing on myself and my sin I could focus on Jesus and His sacrifice and Grace and count on that to save me from the wrath of God? It took a lot to convince me, but the Holy Spirit finally won me over! I finally came to believe in the radical Grace of Jesus. It’s a kind of grace that covers all of our sins once and for all so completely that there are no sins left to confess! You know, because He took them all at the cross.

It’s kind of hard to pay off a debt when it’s already been paid. And even if you’re trying to keep making payments, an honest company will start sending your checks back to you! And that’s what God did for me. I kept asking Him for forgiveness and He kept asking me, “Why are you asking Me to do something I’ve already done? I forgave you at the cross for that, remember?” I kept thinking, “there’s no way that God could be ‘that good’, that He could forgive me that completely that I don’t even have to ask Him to forgive me when I sin.” But little by little, because the LORD is so amazingly patient with us, He kept sending me messages. A dream about His goodness, a message during church from the Holy Spirit, but the one that made all the rest of the messages sink in was the message through my daughter and her pink polka dot kitty. God finally convinced me that He really could be so good as to forgive me so completely that I don’t have to keep asking for forgiveness in order to have fellowship with Him. I just need to keep thanking Him for the cross and the empty grave. I just need to keep remembering that I HAVE been forgiven, that I HAVE been made new, and that I HAVE been given a new heart and a new spirit that will guide me into all truth.

I believed a lot of lies for a very long time. If someone told me something from the pulpit, I believed it hook, line and sinker, just because they looked like they knew what they were talking about. No longer! I’ve taken my religion and my relationship into my own hands. I don’t believe everything that everyone tells me any more. I believe what the Holy Spirit tells me through His Word the Bible. I read it for myself now instead of letting other people read it for me and tell me what it says. And I highly recommend that you do the same!

Don’t just read what I have to say and skip the daily readings in your Bible. If you’re doing that then you’re no better than what I was. You’re letting me have a relationship with God for you and living vicariously instead of having the relationship with Him for yourself. I can tell you from experience that it is certainly not the same. In a million years, for a bazillion dollars I would never, no not ever trade what I have with Jesus right now. I know HIM. I know Him through His Word the Bible. And His Spirit teaches me the Truth of His Grace. He teaches me the Truth of His love for ME. And I know that I’m not the only one that He loves like this. But often times I feel like I’m the only one who really understands it. And that makes me sad.

The result of coming to understand His Grace towards me, is that I have come to understand that if He can forgive me that completely. Then that means that He has forgiven everyone that completely. And if He has forgiven everyone else that completely, then shouldn’t I then too forgive them? No matter what they’ve done or said.

Coming to the point where I understood the blood of the lamb of Christ smeared on the doorposts of my heart has changed me so completely that there is no way I could ever be the same. Not ever. I’ve seen too much, I know too much, I could never go back to the way things were before where I was counting on my own good behavior to find favor in God’s eyes. Yeah, I can tell you that will never work. That’s WHY Jesus died; because He knew it would never work. So He made a way for us so that we could have eternal favor in God’s eyes no matter what we’re doing. We need only to trust in Jesus and His love for us.

Jesus loves YOU, no matter what you’ve done, no matter who you are, no matter what you’ve said, Jesus will always love YOU. And that my friends, is the Gospel Truth.

If you would like to read the whole story of The Pink Polka dot Kitty, click here to be redirected to my website where you can order your own copy.

Categories: 365 Life, Galatians, Genesis, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

Plan A


Ezra 9:1-10:44 & Galatians 1:1-2:21

“Then all the assembly answered with a loud voice, ‘It is so; we must do as you have said. But the people are many, and it is a time of heavy rain; we cannot stand in the open. Nor is this a task for one day or for two, for we have greatly transgressed in this matter.” Ezra 10:12-13

God has plans for us. He tells us so in His book, over and over again. His plans for us are perfect just like He is, but we being human aren’t perfect. We’re not good at perfectly following perfect plans.

Once upon a time I was talking to God about His plans for us and He pointed something out to me. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD,” (Jeremiah 29:11) He has more than one plan for us. Meaning He has a Plan A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, O, P… And depending on how many times we choose our plans over His plans determines what letter plan we fall on. I mean, He’s God, He KNOWS what we’re going to choose to do before we choose to do it. So doesn’t it just make sense that He has also factored that into His plans?

So after He pointed out the “s” in plans I asked God how many people have ever accomplished His Plan A for their lives. You won’t be surprised at His answer.

“One.”

Only one man in all of history has ever walked through an entire life on this planet and ALWAYS chosen God’s will over his own, Jesus. And Oh how wonderful is it that he did! Jesus lived out God’s Plan A for his life so that when we are on God’s Plan ZZZ for our lives, it will still turn out in our favor, for our good with a hope and a future and prosperity instead of despair.

ONLY JESUS!

Thank You LORD for sending Jesus so that as long as we choose Jesus, our other choices, no matter how stupid or far away from your Plan A, somehow all supernaturally re-direct us to Your Plan A destination in the end. Your Grace and wisdom astounds me LORD. Thank You!

Categories: 365 Life, Ezra, Galatians, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | 1 Comment

Creation Speaks

Today’s Reading: Galatians 3:1-6:18

I am so blessed to have friends who love my kids! This morning my friend Cindy came and picked up both my kids for a three-hour play date. The moment they were out the door I grabbed my camera and was out the door myself. A sunflower in the neighbor’s driveway had been calling my name for days now and I finally had the opportunity to heed its call. As I briskly walked I kept my eyes rolling around in order to make sure I didn’t miss anyone else who might beacon me for a closer look. There is just something about the morning sunlight that is simply magical. It makes everything look and feel fresh and new. That’s why it’s my favorite time of day to photograph.

Upon arriving in the neighbor’s driveway I was greeted with this miraculous testament to survival.


I say miraculous because this flower came from a bag of sunflower seeds that had been baked and flavored. The likelihood of one of those seeds growing is very rare due to the high temperatures of the ovens. So the fact that this little life survived the time in the furnace only to be plopped into a bag, sold as food, chewed up, spit out, covered in enough soil to take root and grow during a drought and then survive being mowed off long enough to even bloom; yeah, this is a miracle sunflower. A life certainly worthy of a photograph or two!


His story is simply inspirational all by itself, but then again, he wasn’t the only one talking either. The longer I stood there circling this beauty trying to get just the right shot, the bees starting coming. One after another these bees dipped their heads deep into the flower’s face filled with pollen and drank deeply from this flower’s sweet nectar.


Watching these bees, they shared a very important biblical truth. Our testimonies of survival are nectar for others in their own times of trial. But even more than that, not only is our life story drink for the thirsty, it is seed, pollen for the un-pollinated. When the bee leaves this flower it does not go with a full belly alone, it leaves with hairy legs covered with pollen, which it leaves at the next flower it visits impregnating it in order for it to bear fruit and more seed. Do you know how many times a good story of survival will get passed around and bring hope to others? Honestly, I don’t think there’s any good way to answer that question other than to say “countless”. And every time that story gets told it brings hope to yet another thirsty soul. It brings with it the potential of new life and fruit; fruitfulness that would not be possible without the pollinated seed of that story filled with hope and courage and most importantly God’s perfect provision in His perfect timing. Amazing.

Then, just when I thought this sunflower’s story had all been told, he slipped in the twist at the end that really threw me for a loop. I stepped back to get a shot of a cute little cat’s tail bowing its head in the presence of such a majestic flower,


and when I turned around I was practically smacked in the face with a beauty I was not expecting.


Of all the pictures of all the flowers that I’ve taken over the years, none have struck me like this one has. The beauty of a back, a past, a story a fairy tale ending; where the High King rides in on His white horse wearing His white robe and with a single word saves the day. Has that ever happened to you? When just one word is all it has taken to make everything line up in just the right way; to make everything that was tumbling around in your life simply fit together? The power of just one word is amazing. I’ve heard that it was only one word that God spoke to create all of this, “universe”. I don’t know if that’s true, I may never know until I get to heaven and see it for myself, but I can certainly see how it could be true. He IS God after all right?

This blessed sunflower’s story all told I turned my feet towards home only to have them drawn once more to a neighbor’s yard; this one filled with wildflowers.




Standing in the middle of this little field of forget-me-not blue, snapping away as fast as my little point and shoot could keep up I slowly became aware of a great buzzing about me which momentarily drew my eyes away from my camera screen to look about myself. While I was over with the sunflower standing there alone there was only the occasional bee here and there. But here, amongst these many flowers there were many bees; and not that many small ones either. They were all large bumble bees.


As these bees buzzed about, you could tell that they meant buzz-ness! While the smaller bees had landed gently on the sunflower’s face, these bumbles were barely stopping for the drink! I was amazed at their speed and agility compared to their size. Not to mention their sound. With so many of them surrounding me the sound was quite impressing. As I stood there watching them and attempting with all my might to get my camera to focus on them faster so that I could shoot them it was as if I could hear the voice of God in the humming of the bees, busy about their work. “You can fly too…”

Look at the bumble bee’s wings:


Though this picture doesn’t do them justice, when photographed well you can see how much smaller the bee’s wings are compared to its rotund body. Scientists have studied them and have concluded that aeronautically speaking they shouldn’t even be able to fly! But no one told them that they couldn’t, so they do, and quite well I might add.

This morning when I woke up the Holy Spirit was singing a line from one of my daughter’s many Barbie movies, “if I wasn’t meant to fly, I wouldn’t have these wings…”


There are many birds that have wings but do not fly up in the sky. They may flap them from time to time to get from here to there, but somewhere along the line of time someone told them that they couldn’t fly, and after a while they believed it enough that they just stopped trying.

This afternoon in a conversation with my Beloved Aunt Cynthia God reminded me of another animal story. The circus elephant. When these elephants are babies the trainer will put the ankle cuff on the elephant and attach it to the chain and a large stake driven into the ground. The elephant is small and isn’t able to break free from the chain that is holding it back from roaming free. As the elephant grows the ankle cuffs get larger with it, but the chain and the stake stay the same. When the elephant is full grown it could easily remove the now tiny stake from the ground and be free… but it never tries because the chains around its feet are no longer holding it captive. It’s the chains in its head that keep it where the trainer wants it to be.

Where are your chains today? Are they on your ankles, or in your head?

Has Satan lied to you long enough that you’ve finally been trained to stop trying to fly, trying to break free from his prison of pain and fear and doubt? My friend, believe and break free! Believe the voice of truth that has been buzzing around you, the voice that has whispered to you in the wind, in your sleep, in your friends, “You can fly too!” Together we CAN do this! Together with the love of God we can fly, soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow faint, walk and not grow weary. With God, ALL things are possible, and if God is for us then who can be against us? If you’re told often enough that you can’t, after a while you believe it… well if that’s true then wouldn’t the exact opposite be true too! I’m telling you today that you CAN! Believe it!

My friend, creation speaks, all around us the heavens pour forth speech, what are they saying to you?

Categories: Galatians | Leave a comment

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