• Tony Birkhead

Breaking the Rules... Week - 7




The key to your identity is knowing your Father!


INTRODUCTION

Do you ever feel like you have to perform to get people to approve of you or love you? In what kinds of situations are you most likely to feel that way (i.e., parenting, work, friendships, etc.)?

Does that need for performance-approval ever bleed over into your relationship with God? If so, what does that indicate about the way you view God’s love?

What in your current life or your past might contribute to the belief that you have to perform in order for God to love you?

A firm belief in God’s unchanging love is essential for us to move forward spiritually. Until we truly believe God loves us, apart from our performance, our spiritual lives will be stagnant. We’ll constantly try to prove ourselves to God. Fortunately, the gospel helps us see that we are free from this lie because of what Jesus has done on our behalf. True freedom comes when Christ captivates our heart and transforms us into His likeness by grace, not our works.

KEY SCRIPTURE

Galatians 4:1-20

What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. 4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9 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? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you. 12 I plead with you, brothers and sisters, become like me, for I became like you. You did me no wrong. 13 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, 14 and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15 Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them. 18 It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you. 19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

READ GALATIANS 4:1-7.

Compare and contrast Paul’s idea of a son and a slave. What rights does a slave have? How does that differ from a son’s rights?

In verse 2, what does Paul mean when he refers to guardians and managers?

Paul alluded to a well-known legal and ceremonial process in the Roman world called “the Liberalia.” Celebrated on March 17, Liberalia involved Roman fathers deciding whether their boys would officially become men. On that day the son would be adopted by his father and take on the full rights of an heir. Before that day—though a child of his father—the son was functionally a slave with no rights or privileges to his father’s estate, merely living under the watch and protection of guardians and managers. After that day, the son’s primary relationship would be with his father.

READ GALATIANS 4:3-7.

How does Christ transfer His rightful status as a Son to us?

In what must we believe to receive the status of son?

What is significant about the word “Abba”?

What do you think about when you see the verb “crying” in verse 6? Do you think this is an experience that is common to most believers? Why or why not?

Because of God’s grace, there truly is no better family to be a part of. The word “Abba” is an Aramaic word that was translated into Greek. It is an affectionate title that young children would use for their fathers. When we cry to God, we are not reaching for a distant Father, but a loving daddy. We are able do this because of the Spirit working within us. The word used for “crying” is a word that carries with it the idea of passionate expression. This crying is not chiefly about the words that come out of your mouth but the disposition of your heart that will produce these instinctively. As we see more of Jesus in the gospel and are overwhelmed by the goodness of God, our hearts cry out in praise.

But some who influenced the Galatian church reverted back to a form of relating to God through the law, and we are tempted to do this as well. Even though there is no better family than one formed by grace through faith, we often attempt to relate to God through good works, just as some in the Galatian church did.READ GALATIANS 4:8-14.

How did Paul contrast the Galatians’ lives before Christ and their lives after coming to Christ?

What was Paul asking in his rhetorical questions in verse 9? How would you respond if you were asked the same thing?

How can believers avoid slipping back into enslavement to old habits and comfort zones?

In Galatians 4:3, Paul had referred to Jews’ and Gentiles’ being enslaved “under the elemental forces of the world”—rudimentary elements of religion or the heavenly bodies and spirit powers associated with them. Through God’s gift of grace in Christ and their faith response, the Galatian believers had been adopted into God’s family and had received the Spirit of His Son (see 4:4-6). They no longer were slaves but were children and heirs (see v. 7). Paul was dismayed that they would forsake a close fellowship of grace to pursue one based on works of the law.

What are some of the “weak and bankrupt elemental forces” that keep Christians today from growing in their faith? What pointless rules and rituals are we under pressure to conform to?

How can reflecting on our past and our spiritual milestones (as Paul encouraged the Galatian Christians to do in verses 13-15) encourage us to grow in relationship with God?

The cure for legalism is realizing that we were enslaved but Christ has set us free. We need to recognize and resist temptations that would place us back in bondage to rules and rituals. We do not need to obey these. We need to obey Christ.

READ GALATIANS 4:15-20.

How had false teachings influenced the Galatians? Describe Paul’s response to this turn of events.

Why did Paul ask in verse 16 whether he was now an enemy of the Galatian believers? What concern did he express in regard to their relationship with the legalistic Judaizers? How was this more than mere partisan rivalry and jealousy?

“They” in verse 17 refers to the Judaizers who were trying to convince the Galatians that Paul was a liar and their enemy. The Judaizers wanted to drive a wedge between these believers and Paul. They wanted to win the believers’ allegiance to themselves and to their belief of works-righteousness. Paul’s concern for the Galatian believers would continue until Christ was “formed in them (v. 19).” As we mature in our faith, we are transformed as the nature and character of Jesus are developed in us. The Judaizers’ legalistic teaching threatened to stunt that development.

How does a relationship with God based on performance and keeping the rules take the joy out of the Christian life? How can we cultivate an ongoing enthusiasm for godliness and the things of God?

We can progressively become more like Jesus, but only as we continue to grow in our faith. Christian growth begins with our relationship with Jesus. When we place our faith in Him for salvation, we become members of His family. He has set us free from the sins and laws that formerly kept us in bondage. We grow if we do not fall back into slavery to these things. As we grow in faith, we will become more and more like Jesus in our attitudes and character.

READ GALATIANS 4:21-31.

Who are the “sons of the slave”? Who are the “sons of the free woman”? Why did Paul make his point by talking about the mothers and not the father?

What was the result of being a child of the free woman? What was the inheritance that Paul was talking about?

Paul referenced the story of Hagar and Sarah, pointing out that while the sons had the same father, they had different mothers. Judaizers, just like Christians, came from the Jewish faith. However the Judaizers, the children of the bond woman, lived under the oppression of the law. Paul wanted the Galatians to realize they were the children of the promise and the children of the Spirit. They were free from the persecution of their brothers and able to inherit the blessings of God.

What false teachings today compliment us? What false teachings today make false promises?

What goals are the lies we are frequently subjected to trying to accomplish? How does understanding the gospel protect us?

Things today haven’t changed all that much from Paul’s time, the most prevalent lie that is alive and well in the false teaching around us today is the idea that you can save yourself. The gospel, however, teaches us that we ourselves are the problem. Our only hope, therefore, is to look Christ and the salvation He provides.

MOVING FORWARD

  • How can our church teach grace in a way that seeks out the good of others? What might happen if we taught the gospel for our own gain?

  • How might we as a group help each other to stay focused on the gospel? How might we help each other live according to the grace we have received in Christ?

PRAY TOGETHER

God, show us to walk in Your grace; help us to trust in Your Word; give us great zeal for Your purpose.

COMMENTARY

GALATIANS 4:1-31

4:1. In the ancient world, an underage heir had no right to his inheritance and was temporarily in the same legal situation as a slave, owning nothing.

4:2. “Guardians” (Gk “epitropoi”) does not refer to the same idea as in 3:24-25, where the Greek word is “paidagogos.” In this case, a “guardian” was a slave who protected the underage heir, while stewards were trustees responsible for the heir’s other needs until he came of age ( the time set by his father). The analogy was to illustrate that God had everything under control during the period of the Mosaic law, setting things up perfectly for the coming of Christ.

4:3. The elemental forces of the world are called “things that by nature are not gods” in verse 8 and “the weak and bankrupt elemental forces” in verse 9. Since these descriptions are linked to the observance of “special days, months, seasons, and years” in verse 10, it appears they are related to religious observances based in the laws and rhythms of nature.

4:4. The Greek word translated “completion” is “pleroma,” indicating that Christ came at the perfect time. Factors that made this such a suitable time included: worldwide peace (Pax Romana), an excellent road system, and the dominance of one language all across the empire (Koine Greek). By these means the gospel spread in ways that would not have been possible in earlier times. “God sent His Son, born of a woman” looks back to God’s promise in regard to “the seed of the woman” in Gen 3:15, and it may allude to Christ’s virgin birth (Isa 7:14; Mt 1:18-25). “Born under the law” refers to the fact that Jesus knew what it was like to live under the Mosaic law. This phrase implies that He perfectly kept the whole law, which no other human being could do.

4:5-6. One big difference between unbelievers and the underage heir of verses 1-2 is that, apart from a relationship with Christ, all people are actually spiritual slaves to sin, which is made clear by the law. Thus, it was necessary for Jesus to die; to redeem (Gk “exagoraz;” “set free by purchase”) sinners out of the slave market. A second great difference is that Christians receive adoption as sons instead of being a son of the bloodline. Jesus Christ is the only Son naturally related to God the Father. All other sons (including females, since “sonship” was a legal status) are by adoption. “Abba” means “Father” in Aramaic, but it has a personal tone, such as “Daddy” or “Papa.”

4:7. Paul’s appeal to those in the churches in Galatia was that the person who tries to be justified before God by works is a slave to the Mosaic law. But he who is justified by faith in Christ is no longer a slave, but a son, with full rights as an heir to God’s infinite treasures.

4:8-9. Before Christ, the Galatians had been slaves to pagan gods such as Zeus and Hermes. When they believed in Christ, they had been delivered from this bondage. They could not claim any credit to say they had achieved a knowledge of God. God had taken all the initiative to form a love relationship with them so that he knew them. Now Paul asked them why they were turning back to the weak and miserable bondage of legalism which could not produce life or righteousness or freedom.

4:10. The Judaizers had persuaded the Galatians to observe the Mosaic calendar. These seasonal events included special days (weekly sabbaths), months (new moons), and seasons (Festivals of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles). The Galatians kept these festivals to gain God’s favor.

4:11. If they continued in legalism, Paul feared that his efforts on them would have been wasted. This could mean one of two things. It could mean that the Galatians were true Christians but that Paul’s efforts to spur them on to spiritual maturity in Christ were not fruitful. Or it could mean that he feared that not turning from their legalism could indicate that they were never Christians in the first place.

4:12. This passage opens a window for us into Paul’s pastoral heart. When the apostle pleaded with the Galatians to become like him, he was referring to his life of faith as opposed to their observance of Jewish rituals and regulations (see Gal. 2:20). Paul wanted the Galatians to experience the same kind of freedom in Christ that he knew. From the time Paul had met Christ, he had realized that rabbinic traditions and ceremonial law were not necessary steps to knowing God. Paul became like his audience in order to win them to Christ. Through such cultural accommodations, however, Paul never compromised his convictions. This behavior on Paul’s part was not an inconsistency but an intentional strategy to reach others for Christ.

4:13. Paul had made his first visit to Galatia because of some physical “illness.” Various suggestions regarding the nature of this illness include malaria, epilepsy, or some type of eye disorder. Whatever the nature of the illness, Paul’s Galatian readers could recall what had occurred (“as you know”). In any case, this verse points out God’s overriding providence. Paul recognized God at work in leading him to proclaim the gospel to the Galatians.

4:14. In this verse the KJV uses a literal translation, “my temptation which was in my flesh,” while the NIV has a literary translation, “my illness.” Sicknesses and weaknesses commonly were viewed as forms of divine judgment in that time and culture. Instead of rejecting Paul because of his illness, however, the Galatians had warmly welcomed him. They had sacrificially accepted the trial or unpleasant symptoms resulting from Paul’s illness. Instead of kicking Paul out, the Galatians had received both the messenger and the message. They had welcomed him as if he were an angel of God or Christ Jesus Himself. The Galatians previously had recognized and received Paul as a genuine apostle of the Lord. Why were they currently turning against Paul after all they and the apostle had been through together?

4:15. The Galatians had expressed profound joy over Paul’s presence with them and his spiritual message. This Greek word translated joy is related closely to the word translated “blessed” in the Beatitudes (see Matt. 5:3-11). The term conveys a state of well-being that comes from a right relationship with God. As a result of receiving Paul’s message of freedom in Christ, the Galatian believers had experienced spiritual blessings and inner joy. When they turned to legalism, however, their joy was gone. Living by the law (rules and regulations) meant a loss of spiritual blessings for the Galatians and a loss of the blessings of Christian fellowship for both them and Paul.

The Galatians’ previous joy had generated a spirit of sacrifice to the point that they would have torn out their eyes and given them to Paul. Some Bible scholars suggest that Paul’s reference to eyes indicates that his physical affliction involved some form of eye disorder. On the other hand, Paul may have been using a proverbial phrase that implied great sacrifice.

4:16. In any case, Paul pointed out that the Galatians had been ready to do whatever they possibly could to help him. Now, however, they had turned against him as if he were their enemy. Moreover, they were not only rejecting Paul, who was telling them the truth, but also believing the false teachers who were telling them lies.

4:17. The Judaizers (“those people”) showed great interest in the Galatians by demonstrating the kind of devotion a man might show toward a woman while courting her (“are zealous to win you over”). The false teachers showed special concern for the Galatians’ welfare, became their best friends, and served as ready counselors to give advice. The only problem was the Judaizers’ motive—it was wrong and self-centered (“for no good”). What did the false teachers hope to accomplish by the attention they focused on the Galatians? They wanted to alienate (literally, “to shut out”) the Galatians. From what did the Judaizers wish to alienate the Galatians? By supplying the words “from us,” translators suggest that the false teachers wanted to alienate the Galatians from Paul and his companions. Other interpreters suggest the Judaizers wanted to alienate the Galatians from their freedom in Christ or from Christ Himself.

4:18. Paul had nothing at all against spiritual zeal, as long as it was for righteous purposes. Indeed, zeal can be evidence of a thriving, growing faith. Therefore, Paul wanted the Galatians to grow in zeal for Christ, whether in the apostle’s presence or in his absence. The problem was that in Paul’s absence, the Galatians’ zeal had taken a direction inconsistent with the truth. The fact that such defection had occurred demonstrated just how immature the Galatians were in their faith.

4:19. In spite of all these concerns, Paul still addressed the Galatians as “dear children,” evidence that he was not questioning their salvation. Their tendency to turn to false teaching had caused Paul agony. Previously, when he had labored so hard among them presenting the gospel and yearning for them to become Christians, he was like a mother experiencing the pains of childbirth. At the present time he again found himself in similar agony because the apostle wanted them to mature in Christ. Paul identified the process of Christian maturity as Christ being formed in them.

4:20. Paul concluded this part of his letter by expressing his longing to be with the Galatians. He was deeply concerned about his children in Christ and wanted to help them through the crisis they were facing.

4:21. The “law” does not refer specifically to the law of Moses, but to the Books of the Law—the Pentateuch (i.e., Genesis–Deuteronomy). Paul’s logic was that even the law itself would dispute the view of the false teachers.

4:22-23. Genesis records the births of these two sons—Ishmael, born to Hagar, a slave, and Isaac, born to Sarah, a free woman. Ishmael was born “according to... the flesh,” because Sarah and Abraham used Hagar to have a son by their own ingenuity, not through patient trust in God’s promise (Gen 16). Isaac was born as God promised (Gen. 15:4; 17:16-17; 21:1-3) after many years of waiting by Abraham and Sarah.

4:24-26. Paul declared that he was using these things as illustrations in an elaborate allegory. On one side of the comparison of covenants is (a) Mount Sinai, where the law of Moses was given, (b) Hagar, the mother of Ishmael, and (c) the present Jerusalem, from which the false teachers had come to Syrian Antioch (2:11-13) and Galatia. This side of the comparison represents spiritual slavery through the law. On the other side of the comparison is the Jerusalem above, a Jewish hope that will be fully realized only in the new heavens and new earth (Rev 21:2,9–22:5). Interestingly, Sarah is not referred to as the mother at this point, but “the Jerusalem above” is.

4:27. The quote from Isaiah 54:1 in this verse deals with the fact that the children born after the exile were more fortunate and greater in number than those righteously judged for breaking the law. The implication is that those who still rely on the law are being replaced by the church and its law-free gospel.

4:28-30. Paul assumed that those in the Galatian churches would return to his view and show themselves to be children of promise (i.e., Abraham’s seed through faith in Christ; 3:29). But, as Ishmael persecuted Isaac in Gen. 21:9-10, it is to be expected that the Judaizers will persecute true Christians. Paul was confident that eventually his opponents would be exiled from among God’s people, while his own view would receive the inheritance.

4:31. Paul placed himself and the Galatians on the side of Isaac and his descendants, the Jews, while his opponents are children of the slave, making them non-Jews.

DAILY QUIET TIME GUIDE

HOW TO HAVE A DAILY QUIET TIME

The QT Guide is designed to help you MOVE with God through Bible Reading, reflection and prayer. It can be completed in about 9 minutes.

UPWARD: 1⁄2 Minute Preparing Your Heart: Invest the first 30 seconds preparing your heart. You might pray, “Lord, cleanse my heart so You can speak to me through the Scriptures. Make my mind alert, my soul active, and my heart responsive. Surround me with Your presence during this time.

FORWARD: 4 Minutes Listening To God: Take the next four minutes to read the Bible. Your greatest need is to hear a word from God. Allow the Word to strike fire in your heart. Meet the Author!

INWARD: 2 1/2 Minutes Talking To God (Prayer): After God has spoken through His Book, then speak to Him in prayer.

OUTWARD: 2 Minutes Preparing your Action: Ask yourself this question: How can I take today’s Quiet Time and put it into action throughout my day?

DAY 1

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Galatians 4:4-7

In the United States, one out of three children go to bed every night without a father in the house. These children have a higher rate of poverty, incarceration, and behavioral issues. Growing up in a broken home without a father has serious consequences for the children involved.

Many names throughout scripture describe God’s identity and character, but the most prominent name found in the New Testament is Father. When we experience salvation through Jesus, we are given a unique relationship with Him as His children where we can call Him “Abba Father” which literally means Daddy. In a culture full of broken homes, many fathers lack strength, integrity, and compassion . When we become part of God’s family, we discover a father who is good, right, and perfect in every way who also invites us as His children to approach Him as our loving Daddy. Here are some questions for you ask yourself about God being your father:

-Is it easy or difficult for you to view God as your loving Father?

-How does knowing God as your Father impact the way you view your relationship with Him?

-How does viewing God as your Father impact the way you approach Him in prayer?

Adapted From: http://shortdailydevotions.com

DAY 2

I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

1 Corinthians 4:14-15

Sports seasons are weird this year. The pandemic shut a lot down. However, there’s still a common story we hear about athletes every year. It’s a perfect analogy for the case for having a spiritual father or mother. Have you ever heard about the gifted athlete who gets a big break into pro sports, only to ruin their career by doing something bad outside of the sport? It might be a fight… Drugs… Or many other bad decisions…

Recently, a commentator on a sports program talked about athletes like this. He said they have major thing in common: they lack a father figure. They don’t have a guiding authority or mentor in their lives to keep them on the right track. Just as those athletes need an authority in their lives, so do we as Christians.

A SPIRITUAL FATHER OR MOTHER- Paul told the church in Corinth that he was their spiritual father. He was there to encourage and correct them. His job was to help them be the people God wanted them to be. Do you have a spiritual father or mother in your life who can speak truth to you when you mess up? And if you do, do you listen to them? Are you teachable? Or do you get immediately defensive? I’m not talking about a pastor standing behind a pulpit preaching to you. I mean a spiritual father or mother who knows what is really going on in your life. While it’s hard to open up to a person about your failures (and give them permission to correct you), it’s a key to our spiritual growth. Ask God to show you who you should give permission to do this for you. Then humbly ask for their guidance.

WHY DO WE NEED SPIRITUAL PARENTS? Imagine kids growing up without parents. How would they learn to walk, talk, and become a functioning adult? God’s design for the Church is the same as his family. Spiritual fathers and mothers guide, correct, and encourage us just like good parents do for their children.

Adapted From: http://shortdailydevotions.com

DAY 3

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6

I wish my testimony was one of unwavering faith. I wish my high school class mates would all tell the same stories of my obvious love for Jesus. Of my commitment to the Gospel at all costs… Now, some of them would. Because I do love Jesus and am committed to the Gospel. But others wouldn’t because they’ve seen me fall to sin and act pridefully. In fact, I’d wager that many of us are this way. We wish we could have another chance at past situations. These were my thoughts prior to writing this. Pretty grim way to spend an afternoon, right?

But here was God’s answer to my angst and self-disappointment: “I’m not done with you yet.” I’m not finished, he’s still making me! I’m still being molded and shaped and conformed to Jesus’ likeness (Romans 8:29). And here’s more good news—so are you. God’s not done with us, we are still being drawn and invited into relationship with him. Jesus served us first, and from that place of being served by him, we can serve him and his Church. What God did for me was turn my focus from myself and toward Jesus. This may seem simple, but it is a monumental gift of change and transformation. When our hearts are focused on Jesus we see his servanthood and selflessness, we see his love for the Church (Ephesians 5:25), we see the image to which we’re being conformed.

This changes us because we join Jesus in his mission and work on the earth. This is the context in which this molding, shaping and transforming takes place. No matter where we’ve fallen or cracked, our Maker has a grand design and intention for us that is not yet complete. Rest in hope and turn your focus upward and outward. Let the Father change your narrow scope from simply today, to that of eternity.

Adapted From: http://shortdailydevotions.com

DAY 4

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.

John 5:19-20

God is called by a variety of names in the Bible, and each one sheds light on an aspect of His nature. Jesus’ favorite title for Him was Father. Surprisingly, this name for God is rarely used in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament, it’s used often—by both Jesus and early Christians.

Many of God’s names speak of His majestic and lofty attributes that distinguish Him from mankind, but Father conveys intimacy. Jesus used this name not only because He was God’s Son but also to help people realize that Jehovah isn’t some unapproachable deity gazing down on them from a distance. Rather, He is their loving heavenly Father, who cares about them and wants to be involved in their everyday lives.

Throughout His time on earth, Christ revealed by example what this kind of loving relationship is like. He fully depended on His Father for daily direction, power, and provision and obediently carried out His every instruction. Jesus often took a break from the demands of ministry to find a secluded place to be alone with Jehovah. We know the Lord successfully conveyed to His disciples the riches of this relationship, because Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father” (John 14:8)—he wanted to know Him the way Christ did.

Do you long for that kind of intimacy with God? He wants to relate to you as a father does to His child—and He’s given you the privilege of drawing near to Him. In fact, He chose you before the foundation of the world and waits with open arms for you to enter His loving embrace.

Adapted From: http://intouch.org

DAY 5

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Matthew 7:11

When I first was getting to know Billy Graham, he invited me to his home in Montreat, North Carolina, outside of Asheville. Going to the home of Billy Graham was better, in my estimation, than going to the Oval Office because, to me, he was the greatest evangelist who ever lived. As a young evangelist back then, I was so impressed by everything, and I took it all in.

When I’d talk with him, I would address him as Dr. Graham. But he’d say, “Don’t call me Dr. Graham. Call me Billy.” It was hard for me to call him Billy. I had too much respect for him, and it felt too personal. But I finally got around to calling him that.

His children, however, called him by an even more intimate name: Daddy. In the South, parents are Daddy and Mama, not Mother and Father or even Mom and Dad. Billy’s grandkids called him Daddy Bill, much like I called my grandfather Daddy Charles because he and Mama Stella were from Arkansas.

Now, I didn’t have the right to call him Daddy Bill, but I did have his permission to call him Billy. That was because of the relationship.

In the same way, we have a relationship with God and access to Him. Remember, Jesus said, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Luke 11:2 NKJV).

This is God Almighty, yet we have Him on speed dial. We have His private number. And we can access Him anytime we want to.

We’re His children. He loves us. And He wants to hear from us as well as talk to us. He wants to spend time with us. It’s never drudgery. It’s always a delight. And we should feel the same way about Him.

Adapted From: http://harvest.org

MOVING FORWARD

One of the best ways to fight temptation and grow in your daily walk with Jesus is to memorize His Word. Begin to commit His words to your memory this week.

Memorizing may be as simple as repeating the passage aloud 10 times each day or writing it 5 times each day. It may be that you place a 3x5 card on your mirror to remind you each day. Whatever it takes you won’t be let down with His Word in your mind and heart. Consider this…

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

Galatians 4:4-5

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