Our Brand

 

I have always had an interest in brands or brand marks of products, but even more now since I am a business owner. It is interesting to see how consumers trust certain brands and go out of their way to get these products. For example, I will drive out of my way to go to a certain gas station.

 

A trusted brand can even be taken across different sectors such with the case of Richard Branson of Virgin. Richard Branson started in the music industry selling records by mail-order. Then he opened his first record shop, a recording studio, and then he launched Virgin Records. He started many businesses in the music industry and since he is a serial entrepreneur; he crosses sectors. Though many ventures did not become successful; he did begin to take his powerful brand to start such companies as Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Cola, Virgin Trains, Virgin Mobile, and Virgin Galactic to name a few.

 

The brand mark of a product can be as straightforward as the text just simply written out such with “Disney” or it could not even have its name on it, but use a symbol such as “Apple”.  The brand mark is simply the reputation of the product.  If the brand delivers what it promises, it has a good chance of being successful and it could even cross sectors because the customer trusts the brand; as it is seen with the company Virgin.

 

Galatians 6:17  From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.

 

The Apostle Paul uses the idea of brand marks in Galatians chapter six. Here a brand mark could be a permanent mark or scar on the body. Clearly, Paul had received unnecessary abuse for preaching Christ. He was stoned in Lystra (Acts 14:19), he was beaten with rods (Acts 16:22), and “beaten times without number” (2 Corinthians 11:23ff) to name a few. Paul had some markings to show that he was following Christ.

 

Though it is not a popular subject; there is a chance that one might have to suffer for preaching Christ and maybe like Paul have the brand marks to show for it. In Paul’s case the brand marks were proof that through his life (or even his death); he was going to purposely be busy doing things that will ultimately bring glory to Christ.

 

Paul’s reputation (or brand) was known for purposely bringing glory to Christ in every area of his life, whether through life or death.

 

Let our reputation (or brand) mirror the Apostle Paul’s, so that we are known for purposely bringing glory to Christ in every area our lives.

 

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Restore that Brother or Sister

Many years ago, I had a bird dog by the name of Bingo. Bingo was a short haired English setter that was always full of energy. It did not matter how much she was allowed to run; she would still want to keep going. I would let her jog with me or I would take her on walks to help burn up this endless supply of energy. One day, I put the leash on her to take her for a walk. I seen that a lot of our farm cats had congregated in one area and I thought that it would be “fun” to take Bingo over there to say, “Hi.”. Well when I got close, Bingo must have already had the same idea and bolted that direction causing my ankle to twist and fracture. This caused a lightning bolt feeling to go through my body as I fell to the ground in the middle of those cats and dog that were happy to see each other. This caused joy and entertainment for my family as they watched from a distance. Once they seen me hobbling away; they realized that something was not right. This fracture caused my ankle to have a knot the size of a baseball and I ended up having to have a cast put on the ankle so the bone would set and restore to its original place.

The doctor had to set my bone in its original place to help restore it.

I do not think the Apostle Paul had a broken ankle caused by a dog named bingo, but he was familiar with the idea of the setting of a broken bone. Paul used a secular Greek analogy for restoring or setting a broken bone, in chapter six of Galatians.

Galatians 6:1  Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

The secular Greek word that Paul used for setting a bone was “restore”.  The word “restore” is even fuller in meaning because it has the idea of making someone completely adequate or sufficient for something.[1] If a brother or sister falls into sin; the one who is walking by the Spirit should “restore” or help the fallen brother or sister so they can be placed back to where they were before falling so that they can become completely adequate for the work that God has for them.

Sadly, sometimes we can be quick to kick a person while they are down instead of reaching down and helping them back up. Paul says with gentleness and of course love, restore or bring the fallen brother or sister back to where they were so they are able to bring glory to Christ in their life.

Hopefully you do not need an English setter by the name of Bingo to fracture your ankle so you understand the idea of setting a bone. Just be quick in reaching out a hand to a fallen brother or sister so you can restore him/her back so he/she is able to bring glory to God in their life. Sometimes people fall because their life is hard and burdensome. Be the one that comes along with love to help him/her up and to help shoulder the load. You might be the only one that gives the encouragement that is needed for him/her to press on.

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.



[1] Louw Nida

I am Free

On New Year’s Day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln granted freedom to slaves in the Confederate states. Though immediately on that day, many slaves were granted their freedom, it did take some time for the news to travel. ‘Word didn’t reach the African-American slaves of Galveston, Texas, until June 19, 1865, when a force of two-thousand Union soldiers arrived and informed them of their freedom. Historians suspect Texas slaveholders knew of the proclamation and chose not to free their slaves until they were forced to”.’[1] It is sad to think that those slaves had to pointlessly endure another 2 ½ years of slavery when they were given freedom.

As I have mentioned in previous articles, the Book of Galatians is about the freedom that Christians have in Christ. I studied this book last year and realized the freedom that I had in Christ. Without even realizing it, I was enslaved to doing ‘good works’ a lot longer than 2 ½ years, but for most of my Christian life. Of course I preached salvation by grace through faith not by works; but somehow along the way, I thought my good works put me in a better light with God and that I deserve things from God, and when God did not do things the way that I wanted, I would get ticked at Him. I was no different than the brother in the parable of the “prodigal son”. This made me do things and not do other things out of duty instead of love for my savior. I was enslaved and did not realize the freedom that I had.

Galatians 5:18  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.

Hopefully, you haven’t had to experience bankruptcy in your financial life, but when one declares bankruptcy; all of his debts are removed and he is not obligated to repay them. This is good thing, but when one walks out of that lawyers office freed from any debts; chances are that he is broke and he has the same bad habits that got him in that mess.

When one accepts Christ as their savior, he is freed from all of his sins; past, present, and future, plus one is given the full richness of Christ including life more abundantly (John 10:10) and indwelt with the Holy Spirit (John 14:16)  to a name a few benefits with one’s freedom. The Holy Spirit empowers us to boldly preach the gospel and to keep God’s command to love one another.

As one is indwelt with the Holy Spirit, he or she does not need the Law to guide them, because the Holy Spirit will lead him.

I find this so freeing that it is not up to me to continually do the right thing. Christ has done the work and has set me free to love Him and other in His power. This way Christ gets the glory and I do not.

Galatians 5:13  For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Free from the Law

All of us at one time or another has taken out a loan to purchase a major ticket item (college, house, credit card, vehicle,…etc.). If you were to read all of that paper work which you have to sign, one would see that you must repay all of the original amount plus any origination fees, processing fees, and interest. This can be burdensome and costly since it is a debt that one is obligated to repay.

In the Galatian Church, false teachers were trying to get the believers to revert back to following the Law or basically make them feel obligated to “repay” God for what He has done. Paul continued to encourage his audience to stand firm and to not return to the yoke of slavery of the Law, because ‘where the Spirit of the Lord is present, there is freedom’ (2 Cor 3.17). The false teachers did this subtly by saying that one must be circumcised. It seemed innocent at first glance, but it was a religious rite involving consecration and even ethnic identification. Basically, it was a public proclamation that one intends to keep the entire Law. The false teachers used it as their way to get right with God.  Paul tells them in Galatians 5:3

Galatians 5:3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law.

If you receive circumcision as a way to get right with God, then you are under obligation to keep the whole law. It is the idea of having to pay off your debt to get out from under a debt, but this debt is like paying the minimum payment on a maxed out credit card that you keep using with a 22.99% interest rate. You are unable to pay it off. It is impossible to fully keep the Law and when you stumble in one point of the Law, you have become guilty of breaking the entire Law (James 2:10).

In verse four, Paul does some play on words and tells those who are trying to keep the Law, that they are ‘severed’ from Christ.

Paul is saying that you are not connected to Christ or Christ is no benefit to you if you are trying to get in a right with God on your own. You have fallen from grace. This is not a ‘lose your salvation verse’.  It’s clear that in context to the book of Galatians that once saved you are always saved (4:4-7).

He tells them that they have fallen from grace or you have not received God’s free gift of salvation. Instead of receiving the free gift and let Christ do the saving, they rather get into a right relationship with God with their own works; which is impossible.

Paul is trying to get his point across that it is Christ that does the saving and it is not by our works. We are free from the law.  It is by Christ’s finish work on the cross that gets you in a right relationship with God. There is nothing that we can do, except to believe, and when we believe our sin debt is a paid and we are free from being a slave of the Law (3:13).

Ephesians 2:8-9   For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.