Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-20-22

Intro:   When I was a child, I spent a great deal of time enjoying puzzles—I enjoyed seeing a picture develop one piece at a time.  One of my favorite types of puzzles was connect-the-dots.  Perhaps you remember them.  It was basically line art using ascending numbered dots.  When the line accurately connected all the dots, a fairly complex picture would emerged.  If the numbered dots were not followed accurately, a distorted image would appear.

Did you know faith was imparted so you and I could connect the dots of Truth given so beautifully in Scripture?  We need the wisdom of God and when connected with faith it brings revelation—the unveiling of Truth—to guard against a distorted picture of God in whose image we were made [Gen 1:27]. Scripture is the self-revelation of Creator God to his creation.  God wants us to know who He is so we grow in our understanding of who we are in Christ.  The Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures do a great job of offering ascending dots of Truth and when connected an overwhelming and miraculous image of God and his loving character begins to rise up in the core of our being.

In his letters to early believers, the Apostle Paul does a great job of connecting some Old Testament and New Testament faith “dots” for the Bride of Christ [Church] regarding God’s two covenants.  He uses allegory to show the deeper meaning by contrasting two women: an enslaved bride [under the law—Hagar] and a free bride [in Christ—Sarah].  Paul reminds the churches in Galatia that believers are not made righteous by the law, but by obedience to Christ—the Living Word of God.  

God so loved the world that he gave his Son… (Jo 3:16). In his first advent, Love came down—Christ came to die in order to set us free from sin and make us right with the Father.  Now, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit to help us grow up in the nature of Christ—empowered to produce the righteous fruit of God. We do not have to follow our sinful flesh; we are free to follow the Spirit.  So, allow the tremendous love of God to help you mature and produce the nature of Christ in and through you.  As we grow up in Christ—children of the promise—we begin to live in a way that fulfills the purpose of the law—Agape LOVE!

Galatians 4:21-5:1 NLT Abraham’s Two Children

21 Tell me, you who want to live under the law, do you know what the law actually says? 22 The Scriptures say that Abraham had two sons, one from his slave wife and one from his freeborn wife. 23 The son of the slave wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise. But the son of the freeborn wife was born as God’s own fulfillment of his promise.

24 These two women serve as an illustration of God’s two covenants. The first woman, Hagar, represents Mount Sinai where people received the law that enslaved them. 25 And now Jerusalem is just like Mount Sinai in Arabia, because she and her children live in slavery to the law. 26 But the other woman, Sarah, represents the heavenly Jerusalem. She is the free woman, and she is our mother. 27 As Isaiah said,

“Rejoice, O childless woman,
    you who have never given birth!
Break into a joyful shout,
    you who have never been in labor!
For the desolate woman now has more children
    than the woman who lives with her husband!”

28 And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac. 29 But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit.

30 But what do the Scriptures say about that? “Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”31 So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman; we are children of the free woman.

Freedom in Christ

5:1 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

Prayer:  Lord, thank You for being the Way to Truth and Life.  During this Christmas season, help us, as children of the promise, to obey Your commands of love.  Thank You for the Holy Spirit who leads us into righteous fruit production.  Then, others around us will have an accurate image of you.   In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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