Meet Copper

So, last weekend, on Valentine’s day, Maria asks me to join her for some errands, including a stop at the pet store. So, we’ve got all the stuff for the cats and on the way to the checkouts, she makes a turn to the adoption area. Next thing I know, we’re heading home with a 2 year old lemon beagle named Copper.
OK, it wasn’t quite like that. There was nothing sneaky going on and no arm twisting. She had no intention of coming home with a dog that day, this one just reached out and grabbed her heart. She’d been talking about getting a dog for a long time and this was the one. It was unexpected, for both of us. Well, more so for me. 😀
He’s a great dog. Quiet, housebroken, and follows Maria closer than her shadow. A welcome addition.

Galatians 6 – Bear Each other’s Burdens

Galatians 6:1-2 – Verse 2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” I’ve long thought of this, and heard it taught I believe, that this means that we should work with each other through hard times, helping others work through hard ‘stuff’. Job loss, family loss, depression, etc. But Paul states this in the context of someone being caught in sin. They aren’t working through it, they are caught doing it. What burdens does someone in that circumstance bear? Guilt. Shame. Fear. So this then is what we bear with them. We stand with them, not ashamed of them, bearing their shame and guilt so that they need not bear it alone. This enables them to stand, to move on, to heal. They know they are accepted, in fact, in this way we demonstrate the truth of Christ’s acceptance of them, reminding them of whom they belong.
Thinking of it in this way reminds me of Jesus with the woman caught in adultery. The pharisees and teachers were ready to toss her aside, but Jesus stood with her. Instead of joining them in their accusation, he crossed over to be with her and she was not alone facing her accusers.
When we bear our brothers burdens of sin, we do the same. We stand with him in the face of Satan the accuser, and he is reminded that he is not alone. Of course, Jesus is always there, but when we are caught Jesus can be hard to see. If we stand with him, he is enabled to see Jesus in us.
Galatians 6:3-5 – Verse 5 says, “For each will have to bear his own load.” Given what I just wrote (which I stand by), I honestly don’t know how to put verses 3-5 in context with 1-2. Is Paul being sarcastic? Doesn’t seem to be. Any thoughts?
Galatians 6:7-10 – Paul talks throughout Galatians, and the New Testament, about works vs. faith, slavery vs. freedom. But here he points out that our actions, our ‘works’, are not for nothing. We do reap what we sow. Not that we work to be saved (notice in verse 8 he says eternal life comes from the spirit), but that what we do will produce something – corruption or life.
Galatians 6:13 – There’s a clue here to verses 3-5. Those compelling the Galatians to be circumcised want to do so so that they can boast in the Galatians actions. See in verse 4 Pauls says “But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.” It’s about standing on the works of flesh or the works of the spirit.

Van Fun

The Hemmings blog, in two posts, pointed me to some nifty van stuff this week. I generally like vans, the minivan in particular because it does so much well, but I also grew up during the custom van craze of the 70’s. I remember going to van shows in Southwyck Mall in Toledo (now gone) with my Dad. Check these out:
The first post led to this:
VW Record Player
They found it at Big Blue’s Online Carburetor. Can you guess what it does? Here’s a video of one just like it in action:

I really want one, but the You Tube link says it’ll destroy your records. Still, how cool is that?
The second post pointed me to Vans and the places where they were, a photo collection of old custom vans. Check this one out:
Brown VanDura with Tan Stripes
Yeah, that’s a complete greenhouse from an 80’s Ford Escort grafted on top, complete with opening hatchback. Here’s another:
Tradesman with Candy Paint Stripes
This van, unlike most of those at the site, is close to what folks were doing in the 70’s. Wild paint and custom windows. The later conversion vans were the the mass production outcome, but at first every one of them was a one off like this one.

Galatians 5 – Spirit vs. Flesh

Galatians 5:1 – “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” There’s so much power in this statement. Do not submit to a yoke of slavery. Slavery of performance, Slavery of perfection. Slavery of doing the right thing. Slavery of making the right choice. Slavery of finding the right way. Slavery of working to become worthy.
God has chosen us, bought us for a price. He’s already said we are worthy, set a price on us that’s higher than we would have paid. So why do we think we have to prove ourselves?
Galatians 5:7 – All this talk against the law, against circumcision and here he asks “Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” What is this talk about obedience if the law is nothing? We are still called to obey, the question is why do we obey and what? Do we obey from a call to duty, out of a desire to please Him who has already shown His pleasure with us? Or, do we obey because of the love he has already lavished on us? Do we obey the failed rules and laws of old that did nothing to truly sanctify those who followed them or do we obey the call to simple faith in a God who became man to rescue us?
Galatians 5:16-24 – For so long I lived and preached this section (verses 19-21 particularly) as law, rules to live by. Her was the list of don’ts (oh yeah, and some dos in verses 22-23) to avoid. This is how you live as a disciple of Jesus, here’s how it works.
But I missed the 4 1/2 chapters proceeding it. For 4 1/2 chapters Paul railed on living by the law, by the dos and don’ts, going as far here in Galatians 5:4 to say that those who follow that path are “severed from Christ, … fallen away from grace.“.
Paul here is contrasting living by the spirit, which leads to the acts of the spirit, with living by the flesh which produces these (and other)acts of sin. He’s calling them, not to do their best to eliminate these sins and incorporate these acts of righteousness, but to live by the spirit.
We like the rules, they’re easy. Do this, don’t do that. Instead, Paul says look to Jesus and don’t worry about what to do. If you truly seek to follow him, the spirit will take care of your transformation. You will naturally move toward the acts of the spirit and leave the acts of the sinful nature. but we don’t trust the spirit, it seems to ethereal or mystical. We want a plan of attack, something we can do to better ourselves. But faith says that we can never better ourselves enough and puts our betterment in His hands.

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