Prayer Challenge

I want to ask you to say this prayer out loud, if possible.

“I belong to God. I am a holy vessel, because I have the Holy Spirit of the Living God. The Lord of Heaven and earth has said over me; “I declare you holy!”. I commit to start believing what He says. I AM HOLY! Remind me daily, Spirit of the Living God, to treat myself as holy, open my eyes to every scheme of The Enemy to treat me as if I'm not. You God, are Holy. Your word is truth. This day Father, I chose to believe you! I ask this in the mighty name of your son Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for me so that I could be a coheir to the kingdom of God. Amen”

Monday, March 19, 2018

Verse of the Week - Galatians 2:1-2

How are you doing on your memorization challenge? 
Personally, I don't know how much I have memorized, but I know more about Paul and his ministry than I did before I started this challenge.

As I sat reading this week's verse, I asked myself what I could gain from this one sentence. 
  1. Fourteen years is a long time to be preaching and teaching the gospel. 
  2. Paul also gained supporters like Barnabus and Titus who were willing to travel with him.
  3. Traveling in biblical times was quite a journey. 
  4. I wonder how many folks are traveling in primitive conditions to spread the Good News of Jesus today, or to resolve an issue with leaders in the church. 
My next course of action was to read the bible commentaries about this verse.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible helped me to gain a better understanding of the verse in the context of Paul's ministry.

Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem,... 
  • That is, either after it pleased God to call him by his grace, and reveal his Son in him
  • or after he had been at Jerusalem to see Peter, with whom he stayed fifteen days, and then went into Syria and Cilicia; 
  • It was seventeen years after his conversion that he took this journey to Jerusalem he here speaks of 
  • He seems to refer to the time when he and Barnabas went from the church at Antioch to the apostles and elders about the question, whether circumcision was necessary to salvation
  • Acts 15:1 which entirely agrees with the account the apostle here gives of this journey, and which he went not alone

with Barnabas: and took Titus with me also
  • Barnabas is mentioned in Luke's account (in Acts) as going with him at this time, but Titus is not.
  • The apostle might judge it proper and prudent to take Titus with him, who was converted by him(Paul), was a minister of the Gospel, and continued uncircumcised.
  • Paul might choose to have Titus along with him, partly that he might be confirmed in the faith the apostle had taught him; and partly that he might be a living testimony of the agreement between the apostle's principles and practice.
  • By having Titus and Barnabas with him, he might have a competent number of witnesses to testify to the doctrines he preached, the miracles he wrought, and the success that attended him among the Gentiles; and to relate, upon their return, what passed between him and the elders at Jerusalem; for by the mouth of two or three witnesses everything is established.
"Though Paul conversed with the other apostles, yet he did not receive any addition to his knowledge, or authority, from them." Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary

Monday, March 12, 2018

Verse of the Week - Galatians 1:23 - 24

From Persecutor to Preacher
Though those churches in the country of Judea had never seen Paul in person, yet they had heard of him: 
  • That he had been a persecutor of those which professed the doctrine of the gospel, which he here calls the faith, it being the object and the means of faith. 
  • That there was such a change wrought in him, as that he was now become a preacher of that doctrine, for the profession of which he had formerly wasted and destroyed, the churches of Christ.                                 Matthew Poole's Commentary on 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Verse of the Week - Galatians 1:21-22

First, I want to say that I am personally gaining knowledge and personal revelations from writing on Galatians every week. 
Paul was a living, breathing man and I feel as if I am beginning to know him. His story is pertinent today because human interactions are the same now, as in Paul's day. Our society and technology have changed, but our human interactions have not. Do you agree?
Paul went to churches who had already heard that the persecutor was now preaching the Gospel of Jesus (the report)
I wonder if they were far enough from Jerusalem that they trusted his conversion experience more? After all, in Jerusalem the families of the arrested followers, whom Paul had arrested, would have been very suspicious of him. Wouldn't you? I know I would have been, but Paul did carry a letter from the church leaders in Jerusalem.
Paul Was Following in Jesus' Footsteps 
When Jesus was alive, he traveled in Syria and healed many, many people. I am sure these people remembered Jesus and were eager to hear his teachings from Paul. Paul was an effective speaker and many people came to listen to him. In a later travel in Matthew, it says Paul strengthened the churces in Syria and Cilicia. 
John Gill's Commentary On Galatians 1:21
"Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. For having disputed against the Grecians at Jerusalem, and being too hard for them, it so irritated them, that they were going to murder him; which being known to the brethren there, they got him out of the way, and had him down to Caesarea, and so to Tarsus, a city in Cilicia; where he was born; in which places and in the countries about he preached the Gospel of Christ; to Tarsus, Barnabas went for him seeking him, and finding him brought him to Antioch in Syria; and both in Syria and Cilicia he preached, no doubt with success, since we read of believing Gentiles and churches in those parts he afterwards visited; being sent along with others, with the letter and decrees of the synod at Jerusalem to them, and whom he confirmed;" 
Matthew 4:24
News about Him spread all over Syria, and people brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering acute pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed--and He healed them.
Acts 15:23
With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings.
Acts 15:41
He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Verse of the Week - Galatians 1:18-20

John Gill Wrote*
  • Then after three years, I (Paul) went up to Jerusalem... Not three years after his return to Damascus, but after his conversion; and now it was that he moved to become a member of the church at Jerusalem; 
  • They did not care to admit him to the church, fearing that he was not a disciple, until Barnabas took him, and brought him to the Apostles Peter and James, and related his conversion and his boldness in preaching the Gospel at Damascus.
  • Paul's view in going up to Jerusalem at this time was partly his own safety, being obliged to fly from Damascus, but chiefly to see Peter. 
  • Paul went not to see what sort of a man he was, but to pay him a Christian visit; to talk with him about spiritual things; to know how the work of God went on under him...and to relate to him...but not to receive the Gospel from him, or to be ordained a preacher of it by him.
  • Paul had already in the work of the ministry for three years before he made this visit to Peter; and besides, his stay with him was very short, (15 days) nor could he have received much from him, in so short a time, in an ordinary way.
  • During this time, Paul wasn't just visiting with Peter but he was also coming in and going out at Jerusalem, where he preached boldly in the name of Christ and disputed against the Grecians.                           
*adapted from Gills Exposition of the Entire Bible

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Verse of the Week - Galatians 1:17-18

Paul wrote that after God came to him and revealed Christ in him he didn't go to Jerusalem and meet the twelve apostles. Instead, he went into Arabia and then returned to Damascus. Three years later, Paul went to Jerusalem and met Peter and James, the brother of Jesus. 
Luke wrote about Saul in the book of Acts.
In Acts 9 we learn that Ananias baptized Saul and Saul's sight was restored. After spending several days with the disciples in Damascus, Saul began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues. Can you imagine the reaction many Jews would have had? Saul was known as the persecutor of Jesus' followers and now here he was preaching the Jesus is the son of God.

The Jews did not take this well; specially after the highly educated Saul proved that Jesus is the Son of God. In fact,  the Jews in Damascus plotted to kill Paul. The Jews were watching the gates in and out of Damascus. In order to escape Damascus alive, Paul was put in a basket and lowered from a window in the city wall by his disciples.
 Six Points About Paul and His Conversion*

  • Paul was wonderfully brought to the knowledge and faith of Christ. 
  • All who are savingly converted, are called by the grace of God; their conversion is wrought by his power and grace working in them
  • It will but little avail us to have Christ revealed to us, if he is not also revealed in us. 
  • He instantly prepared to obey, without hesitating as to his worldly interest, credit, ease, or life itself. 
  • What a matter of thanksgiving and joy it is to the churches of Christ, when they hear of such instances (as Paul's) to the praise of the glory of his grace, whether they have ever seen them or not! 
  • They (the churches of Christ) glorify God for his power and mercy in saving such persons, and for all the service to his people and cause that is done, and may be further expected from them.
*adapted from Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary