Week 22 Saturday

Bewitched

Today’s scripture selection: Galatians 1-3

Key verse: Second Corinthians 3:1

     Years ago there was a popular TV show about a pretty housewife who also happened to be a witch.  If you are of a certain age you probably remember it – “Bewitched”.

     Well, long before America ever learned about this suburban wife endowed with magical powers, the apostle Paul used the term bewitched.  He spoke of how the Christians in Galatia had been somehow “magically” been taken in by the foolish notice that there was a gospel other than the one Paul had been preaching about Jesus Christ.

     I don’t think Paul meant the believers had literally been taken under the power of some magical spell.  He just meant that whoever was trying to convince them of some very wrong ideas had them, in a way, under a spell.

     Paul knew better.  He had experienced it himself – this life saving gospel.  He knew Jesus, the Christ, personally – though he had never met him in the flesh.  He knew Jesus was, as promised, the “Way, the Truth, and the Life.”  He had been literally blinded by his former choices.  Now he knew life, and he wasn’t going to trade it for anything – certainly not for some “false” gospel.

     Two thousand years later – I think we have the same choice to make as those “foolish” Galatians.

     We can either accept, on faith, that the “Jesus life” is the way to true life – or we can run down some other path that any number of others would try to sell to us.

     There will always be those who will use smoke and mirrors to convince you that faith in God is the wrong way to go.  There will always be somebody who has the “better, more reasonable way” to go.  But I, for one, refuse to believe it.  I know a cheap magic trick when I see one.  The love and grace of God, as expressed by Jesus of Nazareth on the cross; Jesus the Christ, is the only Way for me.  I won’t be “bewitched” by anyone else.

Prayer: Father God, in a world full of false gospels, open my eyes to truth and life.  AMEN.

 

 

    

 

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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