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In today's reading, Paul refers to Antioch (Galatians 2:11), which was the base for Paul's missionary journeys, and where Jesus' followers were first called "Christians" (Acts 11:26). This photo shows an overview of the modern city of Antakya, Turkey, which is in the area of ancient Antioch.
GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.
Key Verse: Galatians 1:6
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel.
As believers in Jesus, can we recall the first days of our lives as Christians…days of enormous joy and peace? This should be particularly memorable if we came to faith in our late teens or older. There is an immense freedom we felt when we realized that Jesus loves us just as we are. We need to ask ourselves, “Am I still full of that joy, peace, freedom and sense of acceptance?” For many Christians, these important things quickly fade as the enemy sneaks in like a thief and steals these precious gifts from God.
This is what happened to the Galatian Christians. They had discovered the freedom that was available in Christ, but soon turned to “another gospel,” which was no gospel (“good news”) at all. They started out well and wanted to please God, but they became joyless legalists as their lives became focused on merely following a set of rules. Paul wrote some very hard words to these brothers and sisters in Christ. He told them, clearly and directly, that they were wrong. He called them back to the freedom that was theirs in Christ, to the joy of serving Jesus, not because of bondage to duty, but because of the love of God and the power of the Spirit.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord Jesus, I pray for a daily renewal of Your life, Your joy, Your peace, and Your love! I need You, Lord. Thank You for Your promise of Your presence! Amen!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
At 13 years old I joined the Church. I tried to live in a way that was pleasing to God, but by the time I was 15, I gave up. It was too hard to always do what was right. I was placed in a Christian boarding school for my grade 11 high school. I really messed up, sufficiently enough to have me removed from the school. Therefore, I had no alternative but to move in with my sister Willa and her husband Harold Hodgins. I enrolled at the Pembroke Collegiate, and this was destiny for me. There were four Christian teenagers in my class, one Baptist and three Pentecostals. I watched them closely for three months, and then came my night of decision. I understood clearly for the first time that my salvation was totally the work of Jesus and not by my behaviour. My first public confession of faith was at a Youth For Christ rally in the high school auditorium. It consisted of one sentence from the Bible, words which have reinforced my faith ever since. Paul’s letter to Titus, chapter 3, verse 5: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us.”
Yours for learning the lessons which the Apostle Paul taught,
P.S. Yesterday, I had the honour of attending the glorious home-going celebration for George Beverly Shea. At 104 years old, God called him home. He and I had similar backgrounds. We’ve compared notes several times. I hosted a documentary on the life of this man who has sung in person to more people than Elvis, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, and The Rolling Stones combined! He served for 60 years as Billy Graham’s soloist, and much more. The documentary is now available on our Crossroads eStore here. Because Bev Shea was a prominent and beloved Canadian, the government of Canada sent a representative from the RCMP to attend the funeral in North Carolina. Below is a photo taken after the service with Chief Superintendent Ronald G. Mostrey, commanding officer of the National Headquarters of the RCMP in Ottawa.
At Bev Shea's homegoing celebration with Chief Superintendent Ronald G. Mostrey, commanding officer of the National Headquarters of the RCMP in Ottawa.