DayBreaks for 03/31/11 – I Have Forgotten

DayBreaks for 03/31/11 – I Have Forgotten

I have forgotten...

“A few years ago, rumors spread that a certain Catholic woman was having visions of Jesus. The archbishop decided to check her out.

 

‘Is it true, m’am, that you have visions of Jesus?’ asked the cleric.

‘Yes,’ the woman replied.

‘Well, the next time you have a vision, I want you to ask Jesus to tell you the sins that I confessed in my last confession. Please call me if anything happens.’

“Ten days later the woman notified her spiritual leader of a recent apparition.

“Within the hour the archbishop arrived. ‘What did Jesus say?’ he asked.

“She took his hand and gazed deep into his eyes. ‘Bishop,’ she said, ‘these are his exact words: I CAN’T REMEMBER.’” – Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. – Jeremiah 31:34

PRAYER: Hallelujah, that You remember our sins NO MORE!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 3/30/11 – An American Jesus

DayBreaks for 03/30/11 – An American Jesus

 

Will you settle for an American Jesus, or the King of Kings?

In Luke 9, Jesus begins a series of amazing statements.  To paraphrase: if you want to follow me, you’ve got to hate your family – even your own life – then you can come and follow me.  Another: you’ve got to pick up your instrument of torture, shame and death – if you want to be my disciple.  Strong, STRONG stuff.  How would you react to that if Jesus showed up in your room tonight and said that to you?

 

We don’t want to believe He asks those kinds of things of his followers.  He did.  He does.  We just don’t want to hear it and so we explain away those difficult sayings with, “What Jesus meant was…”  And when we do that, we may be getting in way over our heads because we’re redefining Christianity, we are setting the terms of our discipleship, not letting Jesus do it.  We make Jesus sound more palatable to our ears and consciences.  In short, we are making up a “…nice, middle class, American Jesus.  A Jesus who doesn’t mind materialism and who would never call us to give away everything we have.  A Jesus who would not expect us to forsake our closest relationships so that he receives all our affection.  A Jesus who is fine with nominal devotion that does not infringe on our comforts, because, after all, he loves us just the way we are.  A Jesus who wants us to be balance, who wants us to avoid dangerous extremes, and who, for that matter, wants us to avoid danger altogether.  A Jesus who brings us comfort and prosperity as we live our Christian spin on the American dream.

“But do you and I realize what we are doing at this point?  We are molding Jesus into our image.  He is beginning to look a lot like us because, after all, that is whom we are most comfortable with.  And the danger now is that when we gather in our church buildings to sing and lift up our hands in worship, we may not actually be worshipping the Jesus of the Bible.  Instead we may be worshipping ourselves.” – David Platt, Radical

Are you worshipping the American Jesus, or the heavenly Lord of Hosts?

PRAYER: Keep us from idols we make in our minds that are fashioned in our image, Lord!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 03/29/11 – The Cost

DayBreaks for 03/29/11 – The Cost

“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. 28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? – Luke 14:26-28

 

Count the cost first....

You’ve probably read or heard that passage before.  Jesus is talking, as make clear by the first phrase, about the cost of discipleship.  His point?  It’s not cheap.  It is costly.  It involves things like crosses, and crosses were instruments of death and torment.  He counsels us: …don’t begin until you count the cost. We are duly warned, if we are wise!  Deitrich Bonhoeffer, in his very appropriately named book, The Cost of Discipleship, said “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”  A clear reading of Jesus’ statements in the gospels is all that is needed to help us understand that Jesus believed the cost of being his disciple would be sky-high.

 

But, there’s a flip side to this that we need to keep in focus as well.  In his work, Radical, David Platt observed, “But I wonder if the cost of discipleship is even greater.  The price is certainly high for people who don’t know Christ…in a world where Christians shrink back from self-denying faith and settle into self-indulging faith.”  He goes on to note that the cost of non-discipleship is also high for those who are poor and starving.  The church in America owns over $230 billion in property and buildings.  Over $10 billion is spent each year on new construction.  How many mouths could be fed for that amount of money – and which would a disciple choose?  Which do you think Jesus would choose – feeding the starving, or building a new educational wing or sanctuary?  (Never in the NT did Jesus even suggest building a building as a place to worship God – on the contrary, as Platt notes we are to build people who are the new temple for His glory.)

The cost is great to Christians, too, if we fail to live as disciples.  The wealth of this world may make an enticing incentive to ignore our Lord’s example in caring for the poor, but the parable of the pearl of great price or the buried treasure reveal to us what we LOSE if we aren’t willing to pay the price of discipleship.

To not be a follower of Jesus is a far higher price to pay than dying for Him could ever be.

PRAYER: Lord, we are fearful of the price of following too closely in Jesus’ footsteps for we fear what might happen to us if we do.  Keep us mindful of the cost that will be paid, not only by us, but by those who don’t know Christ and who are poor in this world if we are unwilling to pay the price of discipleship!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 03/28/11 – Between What I Was and Will Be

DayBreaks for 03/28/11 – Between What I Was and Will Be

12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

We are being changed...

Do you remember what it was like to be stuck between being a youth and an adult?  You were too old to play with the little kids (and it wouldn’t have been “cool” if you did!)  You were too young to really enjoy the company of the adults who sat around and talked.  You were too old to ride a bike because it made you look like a kid, but you weren’t old enough to drive. Being stuck in the middle can be a tough thing.

The Christian life is like that.  We are “in the world, but not of the world.”  We are living in fleshly bodies that have weaknesses and lusts yet we are “partakers of the divine nature.”  We are dying physically, but we have eternal life even now.  As Emilie Griffin said in her book, Souls In Full Sail: A Christian Spirituality for the Later Years, “I am in between the person I was and the person I have not yet become.”

It is awkward, at best, being stuck between two things.  We long to be rid of the childish things, to “put away” the immature behaviors, yet we are still rebel in childish fashion from time to time.  We have died to the old man – yet we must still put it to death.

When we tend to grow impatient, we need to remember that Christ has “laid hold” of us.  What we reach and grasp for is elusive, but Christ’s grasp is firm and certain.  There is a prize ahead.  Press on towards it!

PRAYER: We grow impatient for what is to come, even while we are tempted by the childish things of our past.  Help us to remain fixed and focused on the prize that calls us onward, and to not lose hope because Christ has laid hold of us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 03/25/11 – Joy and Happiness

DayBreaks for 03/25/11 – Joy and Happiness

 

Consider it joy...

James 1:2-4 says: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

 

This may seem like a very strange passage.  Passages such as this may be part of the reason that some people consider Christianity to be crazy!  Think about it: “Consider it all joy…when you encounter lots of trials”?  It is almost enough to make one think that James was a bit off his rocker when he wrote this.  I mean, could James have really believed that trials are joyful?

Yes, that is precisely what he wrote.  It is worth noting what he did not say: “Consider yourself lucky” or “Don’t trials make you really happy?” He didn’t say those things.  He said, “Consider it all joy.” There is a marked difference between joy and happiness.

In his book, Shattered Dreams, author and psychologist Larry Crabb wrote, “People who insist on happiness never find joy.” Happiness, Crabb says, is a result of favorable circumstances and events, it comes and goes by nature; but joy isn’t that way.  Joy remains, even when circumstances are not favorable.  Joy is a like a calmness river that runs beneath the varied circumstances of life, and it is a delight that life’s circumstances can’t take away.  Joy, Christian joy, is a delight that gives us something to hold on to regardless of what is happening in our lives.

It isn’t the trials that bring the joy, according to James, it is what the trials produce in us: Christlikeness!

PRAYER: Let us know the joy that comes from the trials that make us become more like Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 03/24/11 – The Agony of Defeat

DayBreaks for 03/24/11 – The Agony of Defeat

 

Not all defeats are truly defeats...

For years as a young boy, I watched ABC-TV’s “The Wide World of Sports” religiously.  I have always loved sports in nearly every incarnation.  It didn’t matter if you were talking hunting, fishing, climbing, or any other sport – I would turn it on and watch!  One of the most memorable parts of the show was the opening sequence, that described “…the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”  The agony of defeat was well illustrated with a clip of a painful ending to an attempted ski jump. The skier seemed to be in great shape coming down the ramp to attempt his jump, but then, for no apparent reason, the skier tumbles head over heels off the near side of the jump, bouncing off the supporting structure as part of his horrific crash.

 

What viewers never knew what that the skier in the clip chose to fall rather than make the jump. He explained why he did it later: the ramp had become too fast, and when he was about half-way down the ramp, he knew that if he went ahead with the jump that he would land on the level ground, well beyond the safely sloping landing area.  To land on the level ground could have been fatal, or could have snapped his spine like a twig, so he purposely aborted the jump..

As it turned out, the skier suffered no more than a headache from the tumble though for all intents and appearances, one would think he must have broken a dozen bones.

To change course in life can be a dramatic and painful, but change is better than a fatal landing at the end.  The wise will hear the warnings of the Lord and will change, before it is too late.

The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin. – Proverbs 10:8

PRAYER: Help us see truth, to recognize danger, and to make the changes in our life that You show us before we crash and burn!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 03/23/11 – The (Im)Possible Dream

DayBreaks for 03/23/11 – The Impossible Dream

And we are among those whom he selected, both from the Jews and from the Gentiles. 25 Concerning the Gentiles, God says in the prophecy of Hosea, “Those who were not my people, I will now call my people. And I will love those whom I did not love before.” 26 And, “Then, at the place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God. – Romans 9:24-26

One of the things that Christians struggle with the most is fully believing they are accepted by God.  I suppose this is because we know, as believers, that God hates sin.  We know that ultimately, justice must be served and punishment meted out for sin.  We are not immune from sin, and so when we do sin, we feel that God could not possibly still love us.  We forget that the punishment for our sin has already been poured out on Christ.  Still, we struggle…it seems to much to hope for, or dream for, to believe the Good News.

Our inability to really believe the Good News as it relates to us is a serious problem because it implies a lack of trust and faith.  We need to be able to not just see, but really believe, that the reflection we see staring back at us from the mirror is a child of God. We need to believe in what God has done with us and in us by the power of His Spirit.

 

The Impossible Dream is REALITY!!!!

A good example of such a change is found in the story of Dulcinea, a character from the great literary classic, Don Quixote. Don Quixote, the main character in the story, lives with many illusions, the greatest of which is his notion that he is a knight errant who battles dragons (though in reality they are windmills.)  In the Broadway musical, Man of La Mancha, as the play comes to a close, Don Quixote lies dying.  At his side is a prostitute, Aldonza, whom he has called by the name Dulcinea (“Sweet One”).  He has borne much ridicule from the townsfolk of his village because of his affection for his Dulcinea.  But Don Quixote has loved her in a way unlike she has ever experienced. He has treated her with dignity and respect, lavished her with praises and devotion.  When Quixote finally breathes his last,  Aldonza begins singing “The Impossible Dream.” In the musical, as the final notes of the song drift away, one can hear someone shouting to her, calling her by her name: “Aldonza!” But she pulls herself proudly away from the corpse of Don Quixote and declares, “My name is Dulcinea.” The love of the crazed knight had transformed her and made her believe what had been the impossible dream.

 

May you believe the richness of God’s blessing.  May you believe the reality of your adoption as His beloved child.  May you be transformed forever by the love of the One who has pursued you across time and eternity!

PRAYER: Oh, Father!  Let us believe our standing in Christ Jesus!  Let us be changed forever by His matchless love!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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