DayBreaks for 02/17/11 – Recess and Marriages

DayBreaks 02/17/11 – Recess and Marriages

In case you’ve forgotten, let me remind you how it works in elementary school.  Picture two kids who are having some kind of dispute during recess.  When confronted by the yard monitor, Billy says, “Joey said I look funny, that my ears look like a pig – so I kicked him.”  That’s just the beginning.  After that, things get worse.  On the way back to class, Joey trips Billy for getting him in trouble with the yard monitor.  During lunch, Billy dumps milk into Joey’s desk.  Later, Joey steals Billy’s folder.  As the day progresses, tension mounts and the anger and rage get worse.  They meet on a back street and each gets egged on by their “friends.”  A punch is thrown, eyes will swell, blood flows.  This is the nature of conflict.

I said this was a scenario from elementary school.  It sounds tremendously childish, doesn’t it?  We think about it and say that Billy and Joey are being foolish, silly and immature.  And we would be right to say that.  We’re all much more mature and grown up now, right?

Are we really?  What if you took out the names of “Billy” and “Joey” and insert the words “husband” and “wife” (or your name and the name of your spouse) and the story could be much the same. Or, think about the political parties and how they snipe and take potshots at one another in such childish ways instead of working to resolve the problems.

Conflict at any level is still conflict, and more often than not, it can be prevented.  There are times when conflict can’t be avoided or prevented, but in most cases, conflict is resolvable, but for that to happen, it takes someone to take the first step…to refuse to retaliate, to turn the other cheek, and choose instead to seek the path of peace reconciliation.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – Romans 14:19

PRAYER: Jesus, help us to be peacemakers, especially in our families and marriages, that we can be mature and build each other up instead of trying to make others look foolish – and making ourselves foolish in the process.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks 02/16/11 – The Second Mile

DayBreaks 02/16/11 – The Second Mile

Shortly after the battles ended the American Revolution, but before the peace had been negotiated, George Washington was with his troops in Newburgh, New York. But they began to grow very restless because they hadn’t been paid. Washington had begged the Continental Congress to do what they said they would do and pay the soldiers, but they refused.

Some of the officers began to organize a rebellion. They talked about marching on Philadelphia (which was at that time the seat of the national government) to overthrow the government and with the intention of letting the army rule the nation.

With the fate of America in the balance, George Washington made a surprise appearance before these officers. After praising them for their service and thanking them for their sacrifice, he pulled from his pocket a copy of a speech that he wished to read. But then he fumbled with a paper and finally reached for a set of reading glasses-glasses those men had never seen him wear before. Washington made this simple statement: “I have already grown grey in the service of my country, and now I am going blind.”

Historian Richard Norton Smith wrote: “Instantly rebellion melted into tears. It was a galvanizing moment, and the rebellion…” was put down because they had seen before them a second miler.

How does this relate to our Christian walk?  Becoming a Christian is one thing; being a Christian is another one. Every chance you get for the glory of Jesus, for the goodness of others, and because of the grace of God, go the second mile.  Jesus did!

Go the extra mile for someone...like Jesus did for us!

Galen’s Thoughts: There is someone who needs you to go the second mile with them, or for them.  Perhaps you’ve been hurt and decided you will show them kindness no more.  Your going the second mile may make the difference in their going to heaven.

You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. – Matthew 5:38-41

PRAYER: We are quick, Father, to give up on others especially when we feel someone has taken advantage of us.  Help us put others ahead of our own pride and pain – even as Jesus did for us on the cross – and to go the extra mile for them.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks 02/15/11 – Rats in the Cellar

DayBreaks 02/15/11 – Rats in the Cellar

There are many moments in life that reveal our character.  On a few rare occasions, good times or blessing can reveal something about our personality.  But it is more often the tough times that truly show what we’re made of and what we harbor in our inner person.

Nearly anyone can plan and anticipate situations that may come to pass – and to some extent plan how they will respond to those situations.  Oftentimes, however, situations come upon us that we cannot anticipate, never in a million years.  How we react at those painful or embarrassing or difficult moments is the most revealing insight into our basic nature.

C.S. Lewis saw this and wrote the following: “Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is. If there are rats in a cellar, you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats; it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way, the suddenness of the provocation does not make me ill-tempered; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am.”

 

Are there rats in your cellar?

When you are caught off guard, what is your first instinct?  When you’ve been unexpectedly hurt or slighted, where do your thoughts lead?  How many rats are there in YOUR cellar?  What does it take for them to get loose?

 

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. – James 1:19-20

PRAYER: May we learn to react like Jesus in both the good and the bad moments in our lives.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks 02/14/11 – Why Were We Made?

 

Why we were made...

Have you ever wondered why God chose to make people?  And not just to make people, but people with great capacity to hurt the very One that created uslet alone hurting each other?  I’ve pondered that question on numerous occasions.  I know about the passage that says we were created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph. 2:10).  That, however, seems to be speaking about our role in Christ.  Certainly, though He would wish for those who are not in Christ to do good things, too, without the Spirit there is a limit to what man on his own can do for good.  It’s hard enough for us Christians to do those good works, too.

 

Recently, one of the bloggers at www.patheos.com by the name of J. E Dyer wrote this: “Why did God make us? Why did He launch the project of humanity? What was the purpose?” And so far, I have not been able to improve on this answer: “To multiply love in the universe.”

“Just as we have children because love overflows, we can posit that God gave us the whole panoply of human life and history for the same reason. He is love; we model love, reflect love, expand love outward in infinite sequence. Made in his image, we were made to understand love and to receive and give it. All of our abilities, joys, and sorrows are intertwined with it.”

“Without love, we make only the noise of clanging cymbals. All our prophecies, knowledge, compassionate giving, and self-denial are nothing without love. To gain an understanding of love is to be a grown-up: to put away childish things and stand face to face with the crystalline truth of God.

“There are faith, hope, and love, Paul says, these three. But the greatest of them is love. In scriptural terms, that’s a big claim. Faith and hope are pretty great themselves. Throughout the Bible, the concept of hope is associated closely with Jesus: the promise of him, his coming, and his gift of salvation. Paul dedicates much of Romans 4-5 to discussing the significance of Abraham’s hope and faith, as an introduction to the meaning of Jesus.

“Faith, for its part, can move mountains (Mt. 17:20). Indispensable to life, faith is “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Heb. 11:1). The righteous live by it (Hab. 2:4); we walk by it (2 Cor. 5:7). The author of Hebrews devotes his entire eleventh chapter—often call the “Faith Hall of Fame”—to listing what the ancients achieved by faith and were commended for, from Abel in Genesis 4 to David, Samuel, and the prophets, whose stories are examples for us in every aspect of life.

“Yet, great as faith and hope are, love is greater. Faith and hope are tools, mindsets, agents of purpose and reward. Love is a reason. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16). Love is the greatest principle we know. It just may be the reason for everything.”

PRAYER: Lord, how we need to learn to love purely and in righteousness!  Let us show Your love and may it be multiplied in our hearts until it overflows into all the world.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

 

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DayBreaks 02/11/11 – The Chicken Or the Egg

DayBreaks 02/11/11 – The Chicken or the Egg

God has a proper order for things...

Which came first: the chicken or the egg?  It’s a popular debate among little kids and it’s fun in some ways to chase our tails around and around on such trivial topics.  It is something we can have fun with even when we know we’ll not resolve it.

There are times in life when we get things in the wrong order.  It is common today for people to get living together in front of marriage, or child-bearing out of wedlock.  I personally believe God has a better sequence of things, but we are all prone to doing things our own way – and that’s been our problem since the “git-go”!

I was struck recently by how this even creeps into our emotional/spiritual well-being.  I read this illustration and thought it brought light to the topic.  You are probably familiar with the cartoon strip titled Cathy.  In one strip there’s a conversation going on between Cathy and her friend Andrea. Cathy said, “When I was little, I put my own needs first and everyone said I was being selfish and inconsiderate. Now everyone says I’m SUPPOSED to put my own needs first.” Andrea answered, “That’s right, Cathy. Putting your own needs first is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your self-respect.” Cathy looked sad when she asked, “How can I have any self-respect if I’m being selfish and inconsiderate?”

The solutions that the world comes up with, unless rooted in Divine wisdom, just don’t work too well.  I’ve tried many of them in my life – and found myself floundering every time.  God’s plans for us are not to drive us to desperate lives of boredom and drudgery, but will give us live (abundant life at that!) if we follow them!

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11, ESV

PRAYER: Help us to keep things in the right order, Lord, and to follow your prescription of a successful, happy life everlasting!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks 02/10/11 – The Real Curse

DayBreaks 02/10/11 – The Real Curse

This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen. – 1 Timothy 1:15-17, NLT

No one likes to feel used.  We hate it.  Of course, the way we usually speak of being “used” describes when someone is taking advantage of us for their own selfish purposes.  Men use women, women use men, parents use their kids and vice versa.  Companies can use employees – and vice versa.  Friends can use one another (though they may not stay friends long if that is the case!)  The very idea of being used makes one feel dirty, tainted, abased.

We find in Christianity a strange reversal of the “used” syndrome.  We even sing songs inviting God to “use us”.  Is it because we are of such low self-esteem that we invite abuse?  No, not at all.  Of all people, Christians should have the healthiest view of themselves of any people on the planet.  Not because we are better than others, but because we hold to a belief that says people (Christians and non-Christians alike) are made in the very image of the Creator God and that we hold a special place in His eternally beating heart.  So when we ask God to “use us” it is not a debasing kind of use.

It isn’t abasing for several reasons: 1) God is not an abuser who is doing things for His own self-interest.  Think about it: if God were interested in His own self-interest, would He have died for us?  If anything, that’s evidence that He doesn’t care about His own self-interest, but rather that He’s keenly interested in us and what benefits us.  2) God does use people – but it is to achieve His ends, which is to bring an end to war, rape, murder, crime, hatred, injustice, prejudice, oppression, plunder and any other words you can think of that describe human depravity.  And whose self interest is that directed towards?  Ours – again.  God is above those things.  We not only create those things but we perpetuate them.  What God wants to “use” us for is to help bring about His loving rule on earth “as it is in heaven.”

When it comes to the topic of who is using whom, I think Karen Spears Zacharias said a wise thing when she wrote: “Maybe the real curse is when we look for ways we can use God rather than looking to God for ways he can use us.”

PRAYER: Lord, may we yield to Your control so that You can use us to be a blessing to the world and to further Your kingdom.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks 02/09/11 – Where Is the Church?

DayBreaks 02/09/11 – Where Is the Church?

 

You are the salt...You are the light...

 

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:13-16, ESV

John Stott, from Great Britain and a leading Reformed theologian, has these challenging words to say to the church today:

“You know what your own country is like. I’m a visitor, and I wouldn’t presume to speak about America. But I know what Great Britain is like. I know something about the growing dishonesty, corruption, immorality, violence, pornography, the diminishing respect for human life, and the increase in abortion.

“Whose fault is it? Let me put it like this: if the house is dark at night, there is no sense in blaming the house. That’s what happens when the sun goes down. The question to ask is, “Where is the light?”

“If meat goes bad, there is no sense in blaming the meat. That is what happens when the bacteria are allowed to breed unchecked. The question to ask is, “Where is the salt?”

“If society becomes corrupt like a dark night or stinking fish, there’s no sense in blaming society. That’s what happens when fallen human society is left to itself and human evil is unrestrained and unchecked. The question to ask is ‘Where is the church?’”

PRAYER: Forgive us for our hiding.  Forgive us for pretending that things we don’t see or personally experience don’t matter.  Forgive us for intentionally blinding ourselves from the need around us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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