DayBreaks for 9/11/19 – Folly

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DayBreaks for 9/11/19: Folly

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:

From www.evangelicalgateway.wordpress.com blog, dated 9/9/09 by Tim Dalrymple:

Bill McGurn (from the Wall Street Journal Opinion Post) has an excellent article on two “Christian Girls, Interrupted.”  The first girl, Amanda Kurowski, was ordered by a judge to attend public school because, essentially, the judge determined that the girl should be exposed to ways of thinking other than those of her religious parents.  Amanda’s parents are divorced; her mother has primary custody, but her father has been concerned about the effect of home-schooling on her “socialization.”  The judge, considering the concerns of the father, proceeded to determine “that Amanda is generally likeable and well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising, and intellectually at or superior to grade level.”  (GCD: In other words, she’s socializing just fine, thank you.)  Yet due to her mother’s “rigidity on faith,” the court concludes that Amanda “would be best served by exposure to different points of view at a time in her life when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief and behavior and cooperation in order to select, as a young adult, which of those systems will best suit her own needs.”  In other words, the judge determines, essentially, that she must be sent to public school in order to get away from her mother’s narrow religiosity and be exposed to other worldviews.  Pretty extraordinary stuff.  As McGurn writes, “Just how extraordinary [this line of reasoning is] might best be appreciated by contemplating the opposite scenario: the reaction that would ensue were a court to order a young girl out of a public school and into an evangelical one so she might gain “exposure” to other “systems of belief.”

Galen’s Thoughts: you know, I’m almost at a loss for words on this one.  In his article, Bill McGurn noted that the state motto in New Hampshire is “Live Free or Die”.  So much for that. 

If there was ever an argument to be made against judges who legislate from the bench, this one seems to be at the top of the list.  The judge, even though he decreed that the girl was socializing fine (meaning he should have thrown out the case on the grounds it wasn’t true) decided that in his judgment, she was being brainwashed by a mother who was Christian.  So now, the girl has been sent to public school where she will, undoubtedly, be presented with all sorts of godless and unchristian beliefs.  I am not advocating home school over public school – I’m deeply disturbed, however, at this attack on freedom of religion and the usurping of the parental authority in this case. 

Jesus said there would be times of persecution.  Most of us growing up, probably never thought we’d see it in our lifetime in America.  Wake up, Christians!  It’s on its way!!!!    

PRAYER: Father, we pray for Amanda that you would protect her fledgling faith and help her to stand upon the Rock.  Help us to understand the attacks that are coming against Christians throughout this country.  May we protect the innocent!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 9/05/19 – Imposing and Proposing

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DayBreaks for 9/05/19: Imposing and Proposing

NOTE: Galen is on vacation for the next couple weeks and may not respond to any comments until he returns on 9/9/19.

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:

I don’t think that there are many who would disagree that our culture has become very contentious.  It is clear in how the opposite sides of the political spectrum have labeled their opponents in the last election and in the current health care debate.  What has happened that Americans are now calling others “idiots”, “racists”, or insinuating that they are Nazi’s or worse because they don’t agree with the position and thinking of their opponents.  What has happened to civilized discourse, where women and men of conviction could respectfully and honestly disagree with one another without resorting to name-calling?  Have we become so immature as this would suggest? 

It isn’t just happening in the political world, either.  It happens to Christians – and sadly, sometimes Christians are not just the recipients, but the dispensers of such vitriol as well.  The balance of the world looks at Christians and labels us: ignorant, superstitious, old-fashioned, stupid, duped and the like.  Reminds me of Jesus’ words to us telling us to expect persecution because the persecuted him and the prophets before him.  And, he elsewhere told us that we’re blessed if we are persecuted for His name’s sake.

But is that persecution always without cause?  One of the most common complaints about Christians is that “You’re always trying to impose you views, beliefs and values on others!”  I fear that in some cases, that may be an honest and accurate description of how some Christians go about trying to Christianize the world.  And, I don’t believe, that’s Jesus’ model for evangelism.  Are we to share the gospel, and the Biblical worldview with others?  Absolutely!  It is not called the “Great Commission” for no good reason!  It is one, if not our greatest calling in this lifetime, to love others so much that we’d share truth with them about how they can be saved.  But that’s different than imposing one’s views.

Consider: how would you feel if you lived in a fundamentalist Islamic country, or in India where Hinduism is so strong, and you lived under a government that imposed those beliefs upon you as a Christian?  Simply put: we can’t impose our beliefs on others.  People must come to Christ freely – not by imposition nor by sword. 

So, what are we to do?  We are to propose a better way, not try to impose our viewpoint.  Jesus didn’t impose His view on the Pharisee or the apostle – He simply invited people to come and follow him and see if his way wasn’t better than what they had known all their lives.  In short, he proposed a better way.  We are to invite them to the marriage feast of the Lamb…not to put them in straight-jackets, truss them up like prisoners and force them to come.  It is “whosoever WILL…” that can come, not “whosoever is forced to come” that will find life.

As Rick Warren put it, as Christians (especially in our sharply divided culture in America today), we tend to see others as the enemy rather than as the mission field.  People are not our enemy – falsehood and Satan are the enemy.  People are simply lost…or found.  Let us be about the business of proposing a better solution.  We have nothing to fear from the honest exchange of ideas, for truth, handled rightly, will be seen for what it is.

PRAYER: Examine our hearts, Father, and reveal to us the attitude we have towards those who are not members of Your family.  Teach us to propose the truth and not to impose.  May Your Spirit give wings to the truth that we share!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 8/27/19 – A History of Boredom

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DayBreaks for 08/27/19: A History of Boredom

NOTE: Galen is on vacation for the next couple weeks and may not respond to any comments until he returns on 9/9/19.

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2009:

I would have loved to be in the garden of Eden to observe the temptation.  God had placed Adam and Eve in the garden with the instructions to tend to the garden and care for it.  I don’t know what Adam and Eve were up to when the temptation took place, but I can’t help but wonder if they were being either lazy or bored – and fell prey to a sinister and subtle enemy as a result. 

There has been a saying for as long as I can remember that says “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”  It is true, I think.  I know that when my mental faculties are fully engaged in some project or task, that I don’t have nearly as much opportunity to get distracted.  As long as I am focused on something that is wholesome and productive, I don’t have time to get into as much trouble.

Marvin Olasky, in World (May 23, 2009) wrote an editorial titled “An Era of Insecurity”.  He started off by quoting Soren Kierkegaard, who in a sardonic vein, commented that the history of the world is the history of boredom, which he called “the root of all evil…the gods were bored, therefore they created human beings.”  Kierkegaard didn’t really believe that, but the point he makes about boredom is very real.  The Bible, in the account of the garden, seems to even suggest the same thing when it notes that God saw that Adam was lonely and that it wasn’t a good thing.  (Stop and think about that one for a moment, too – Adam had fellowship directly with God, and yet he was still lonely.  I’m not sure what that says about Adam or us, but it is an intriguing thing to ponder!)  Adam’s loneliness and boredom led to God creating Eve (although I’m sure God planned to do that all along).  Is it possible that Eve’s boredom in the garden led to her “snake-listening?”  Was boredom a factor in Cain’s murdering his brother, Abel?  Was it partially boredom that led the residents of Babel to start working on a tower?  If, in all those cases, they’d been busy doing what they were supposed to be doing, I doubt that they’d have had the time to get into as much mischief. 

There are some who have said that boredom is America’s greatest danger.  I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it seems to be kids (and adults) who have nothing to do who get into the most trouble.  Empty hands, empty minds – they contribute more than their fair share to trouble.  If our minds are empty, they will find something to focus on.  Perhaps that’s why Paul suggested to the Philippians the following: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  – Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

Consider your own life for a few moments.  Aren’t you more prone to mischief when you’re alone and bored – or even when you are in a group, but bored?  We’ve lost the discipline of meditation – of thinking on things that are worth thinking about – so instead we think about things that don’t deserve a moment’s reflection.  And such is the stuff of temptation.

PRAYER:  Keep us from empty minds and empty hands that would lead us into sin, Lord, and teach us to contemplate the wonder that You are and the beauty and richness of Your Word!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 8/22/19 – Drinking Your Own Kool-aid

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DayBreaks for 08/22/19: Drinking Your Own Kool-Aid

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2009:

Many of you will recall Jim Jones and the People’s Temple located in Guyana.  Jones was a charismatic leader by all accounts.  He had fanatically devoted followers who left behind families, homes, careers and jobs in America to follow him to a jungle “paradise” that was called Jonestown (that should have been a clue to the man’s ego.)  They moved after a magazine, New West, raised questions about the legality of some of their practices.  According to Wikipedia, after moving to Guyana, Jones developed a belief in something he called “Translation” – the idea that he and his followers would all die together and go to another planet to live in peace.  He even held mass suicide “practices” where followers would drink Kool-aid and fall to the ground as if they were dead in order to prepare for Translation. 

The day finally came when it wasn’t practice – it was for real.  A total of 914 people died in the mass poisoning – 638 adults and 276 children.  By the time that authorities arrived, many of the bodies were already in such a state of decay that there is some dispute about how many actually died.  It was not a pretty scene. 

I have often wondered about the mindset of those present in Jonestown on that fateful day.  It is hard for me to comprehend parents giving cups of poisoned Kool-aid to their little ones.  For me, it is almost as hard to understand how people could take the cup and drink it down themselves.

An old blog entry had a synopsis of an article from Vogue magazine by Jenny Sanford (the wife of the infamous Governor Sanford who was caught having an affair with an Argentine woman while lying about his whereabouts to his family and staff), where she was describing what it was like to watch her husband’s “addiction” to a woman with whom he was carrying on an affair.  The writer of the blog (my youngest son, Tim) noted this quote from Ms. Sanford: “Politicians become disconnected from the way everyone else lives in the world. I saw that from the very beginning. They’ll say they need something, and ten people want to give it to them. It’s an ego boost, and it’s easy to drink your own Kool-Aid. As a wife, you do your best to keep them grounded, but it’s a real challenge.” 

What struck me was her comment: “…and it’s easy to drink your own Kool-Aid” – a reference to what happened in Jonestown and how it was so deadly.  It isn’t just politicians who are quick to drink their own Kool-aid.  I fear we are all quick to believe our own deceptions and lies and to seek that which flatters and boosts our egos.  It is frequently said of sports teams or athletes that get too “fat” of a head that they “believe their own press,” i.e., they believe the things they say and think about themselves to an unhealthy and potentially fatal degree.

We do the same thing when we think we’re better than we really are, or when we think we can withstand a certain temptation that has always pulled at us – and we’ll get too close to it and wind up in the dirt like the families who died in Jonestown. 

God doesn’t give us poisoned Kool-Aid, nor does He want us to drink our own concoction.  Instead, He offers us the Living Water – water that is pure, sweet and gives us life. 

Maybe it’s time for us all to do some serious introspection to find out if we’re drinking our own Kool-Aid.

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. – Isaiah 12:2-3 (KJV)

PRAYER:  Our eyes are all too often blinded and our minds are dulled by our own press and impressions of ourselves, Lord.  Help us not to drink our own Kool-Aid, nor the Kool-Aid that anyone else would offer us.  Help us to seek and drink only Living Water!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 8/19/19 – Who Signed Me Up for This?

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DayBreaks for 08/19/19: Who Signed Me Up for This?

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2009:

A woman named Linda is a teacher in Texas and she told the following story about one of her interactions with a first-grade student in her class on the first day of school.  “Accustomed to going home at noon in kindergarten, Ryan was getting his things ready to leave for home when he was actually supposed to be heading to lunch with the rest of the class.  I asked him what he was doing. “I’m going home,” he replied.  I tried to explain that now that he is in the first grade, he would have a longer school day. “You’ll go eat lunch now,” I said, “and then you’ll come back to the room and do some more work before you go home.” Ryan looked up at me in disbelief, hoping I was kidding.  Convinced of her seriousness, Ryan then put his hands on his hips and demanded, “Who on earth signed me up for this program?”

Haven’t you felt a little bit like Ryan at times?  We had a comfortable old life before coming to Christ.  By that I mean that we were on familiar ground, we didn’t feel very guilty because we may not have believed in such a thing as sin, we felt we were in control, and we may have even thought we were happy.  Then we became Christians and we find that life changed – not just in small, subtle ways, but in BIG ways.  The requirements are daunting—”Surely the Lord doesn’t expect me to forgive seventy times seven;” “Surely he doesn’t want me to turn the other cheek when someone hurts me;” “What does he mean, ‘take up my cross’?” “What’s this bit about I must be holy even as God is holy?  How can I possibly achieve that?!?!”

It isn’t long before you want to say, “Who on earth signed me up for this program?”  Stop and think about it.  In a way, no one signed you up.  In another way, your parents signed you up without your permission.  In order to get a proper perspective on this, though, I think we must reflect back on Ryan and his consternation for being signed up for a more rigorous schooling challenge.  Would it have really been to Ryan’s advantage to have remained in kindergarten the rest of his life, to have never gone on to higher demands and higher lessons learned?  Of course not. 

God could have said that when we came to Him, we could stay in kindergarten, as it were…and not have to grow or change or stop acting like little spoiled children.  Jesus never misled anyone about the cost of following him.  The cost is high: your own life put on your own cross.  Not literally (most likely) but your life is to be sacrificed to him.  Some may spend their entire Christian lives complaining to God about how hard the Walk is and how unfair it seems. 

Isn’t it about time we stopped complaining about what we signed up for and get on with living it out? 

PRAYER:  Lord, thank you that you have enrolled us in the school of the abundant life.  Help us not to complain about the lessons, but to accept them in faith knowing that they help us to grow into Your likeness.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 8/07/19 – The Dangers of Flying Upside Down

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DayBreaks for 08/07/19: The Dangers of Flying Upside Down

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2019:

In The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard tells the story of a young jet fighter pilot who was practicing high-speed maneuvers in her fighter.  At the point where she was to make a steep ascent, she turned the controls in the direction she believed was correct – and flew straight into the ground.  She was unaware that she’d been flying upside down. 

This is not an isolated occurrence.  I’ve read of such things many times…there is apparently something about flying that can disorient the pilot to whether they are upside down or right side up.  It was even one of the explanations for what happened to JFK, Jr., when his private plane crashed.  When visibility is reduced or one is in a cloud bank or fog bank, pushing the control stick in the wrong direction can and often does have fatal results. 

Willard writes: “This is a parable of human existence in our times – not exactly that everyone is crashing, though there is enough of that – but most of us as individuals, and world society as a whole, live at high-speed, and often with no clue to whether we are flying upside down or right-side up.  Indeed, we are haunted by a strong suspicion that there may be no difference – or at least that it is unknown or irrelevant.”

What does Willard mean?  Since I’m just starting this book that I’ve heard so very much about, I am assuming a bit here, but I think he’s saying that we have lost our bearings – we have lost our sense of direction, of right and wrong…and we are moving so fast that we don’t even notice it until we push the stick one more time and crash and burn.  It can and does happen to individuals, but to cultures, too. 

How? With higher education for the past 50-100 years touting that there is no absolute truth, that truth is unknowable, and that truth is relative to the individual.  (Does it seem strange to you that they say truth is unknowable, yet it is knowable at least to the individual as their truth?  Seems strange to me!!!)  In short, there is no up or down, right or left.  We have no bearings upon which we can depend if this is true.  But those who say there is no moral, objective truth will quickly change their tune if you start stealing TV’s, cars, furniture, computers and the like out of their home, or if you take their child away to sell them into the human trafficking market.  Even those who don’t believe in absolutes agree that these things are wrong – so there must be absolutes!

Here’s the fear: until culture comes to see the flaw in their reasoning (and they will be loathe to do so for that insults their intellectual pride), we will continue to fly upside down as a culture.  The stick is being pushed…too many guesses are being ventured about what is right to do in any given circumstances without moral consideration…and the ground is looming closer and closer. 

PRAYER:  What a blessing it is, Lord, to know that this world is not our home!  Though we can’t begin to imagine how you will do it, we do believe that in time, you will set all things right again.  In the meantime, let us speak words of truth and lovingly challenge our culture that is so upside down.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 8/6/10 – Pain Relief

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DayBreaks for 08/06/19: Pain Relief

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2019:

Job is such a fascinating study of faith under pressure.  He didn’t always shine brightly throughout the test and perhaps that is why reading his story is so instructive and educational for us today.  Once, in this country, the pressure was on those who had no faith.  They were considered the outcasts, pagan, headed for a horrible end unless they came to Christ.  Today, those tables have largely been turned in our country and it is people of faith who find increasing pressure to abandon faith and doctrine in favor of political correctness and “tolerance.” 

We know that faith is necessary if we are to please God (Heb. 11:6).  But faith discovers what it is really made of in times of trouble, not when everything is peachy.  No one needs faith when things are going well – but turn up the burners and it is quickly seen whether faith goes up in a flash of fire and smoke, or whether it just gets hotter and more powerful. 

It is easy to say that we “know God.”  We even use the phrase, “I have come to know Him” as a statement that we’ve become Christians.  Mike Mason puts a bit of a different spin on what faith really is when he wrote in The Gospel According to Job: “But as we progress in faith we go through times when we are less and less certain that we really know Him at all, and yet more certain than ever that He knows us.”  In Genesis, it was the Egyptian run-away (from Abraham and Sarah), Hagar, who made this incredible statement as she and her son sat dying in the desert: You are the God who sees me. (Gen. 16:13)

Hagar’s statement is perhaps really the essence of faith.  As Mason put it: “Real faith is not so much seeing God, as knowing that one is seen.  Only this kind of faith is resilient enough to embrace ‘trouble from God.’”

When one is hurting as Job was hurting, would it have done him much good to “see God”?  I suspect that it was of much more comfort to Job to know that God saw him in his own suffering, sitting among the dust and ashes, tormented by pain and grief.  It was that kind of faith that allowed Job to say Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?  (Job 2:20)

In pain, our greatest comfort often doesn’t come through morphine or vicodin, but through not being alone.

PRAYER:  How grateful we are today, Lord, that you see each of us exactly where we are, with the pain and suffering that we all experience from time to time.  Thank you for your promises that we will never find ourselves alone as long as heaven endures!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>