DayBreaks for 7/08/20 – The Christian’s Security

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DayBreaks for 7/08/20: The Christian’s Security

Security is a dancing phantom, much like the shadows of clouds that flit across the landscape. Yet we long for security in an insecure world. We fear for our health. We fear for our financial “security”. We seek secure investments. We lock our doors in an effort to ensure security. We fear hackers and stolen identities, so we pay for security systems to make our digital identities secure. We may arm ourselves to ward off a nightime intruder. We don’t walk alone at night in a dark place. We do all these things because of our fears in an effort to be secure.

Security in Jesus is not something that I was raised with. In many ways, I grew up in a hellfire and brimstone church that had one trembling with fear every time you had an evil thought or did something you shouldn’t. At those moments we were urged to smell the smoke of the pit that was licking at our feet and about to pull us downward forever.

I thank God that I’ve learned a bit more about security as a Christ-believer. Consider these things:

ONE: the Christian is united with Christ, seated with him (Ephesians 2:6);

TWO: we are hidden with him in God (Colossians 3:3);

THREE: we cannot be divided or separated from him by life or death or anything in existence (John 10:29, Romans 8:38-39).

What is the implication of those things? Simply put it is this: the Christian is as secure as Christ himself is secure!!!  And you just don’t get more secure than that. 

I love what Martin Luther said: World, death, devil, hell, away and leave me in peace! You have no hold on me. If you will not let me live, then I will die. But you won’t succeed in that. Chop my head off, and it won’t harm me. I have One who will give me a new one.

It is so much better to smell the rarified air of heaven than the smoke of the pit.

Believer: rest in Christ. You are as secure as he himself is!

PRAYER: We shout with joy for the security we have found in your, Lord God! Thank you for understanding our fears and our need to feel secure and for giving us the security we sought! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/9/20 – There Ain’t No Stoppin’ Love

Unstoppable Love Easter 2015 – Freedom Hill Community Church

DayBreaks for 6/09/20: There Ain’t No Stoppin’ Love

When I was young, I recall a dilemma that fascinated me and it was primarily related to a physics problem: What would happen if an unstoppable force collided with an immovable object? To this day I don’t know, but I suppose the answer might be something like this: there is no such thing as an unstoppable force or an immovable object. With enough energy applied, anything is stoppable or immovable.

At least in the physical realm. If the Bible teaches us anything about God it is that His plan is unstoppable. It may seem to us mortals that it is being thwarted left and right but we surely can’t see the entire story or recognize all the force at work.

As I was walking the dog the other day, I had Crowder as my walking companion (via my Alexa-enabled headphones) and I was struck by a portion of the lyrics to the song Golgotha Hill (King of Love) that made realize that there is one unstoppable force in the universe and that is the love of God.

When you think about it, what is the intent of God’s plan? It is to be reunited with his very good creation in love and peace.

What if our own love were like that unstoppable love of God? There would be no child, spousal or elder abuse. There would be no divorce. There would be no war, no stealing, raping, racial injustice, no hearts crushed by infidelity and no families destroyed.

I wish it was as simple as saying, “God fill me with your unstoppable love!” I’ve lived long enough to know that nothing is that easy for me. I do believe that the day will come when his love is all that remains and it will fill us, envelop us, and pour out of us. Until that day my prayer will be to know and experience more of his unstoppable love towards me so that I can love others even as he does.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (CSBBible) – Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love — but the greatest of these is love.

Romans 8:37-39 (YLT)but in all these we more than conquer, through him who loved us; for I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor messengers, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things about to be, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of god, that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

PRAYER: Father, I would know and be possessed by your unstoppable love and I would have that love for others! Our world so desperately needs your unstoppable love right now. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/20/22 – Lessons Learned in Crucibles, #1

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DayBreaks for 5/20/20: Lessons Learned in Crucibles #1

Nearly all of us have had unplanned time for reflection during this COVID-19 lockdown. I suppose that like me, you’ve had many thoughts about it and that your thinking and emotions may have changed day by day – maybe hour by hour.

In my quiet time, I’ve been working my way through Ecclesiastes. It’s a strange, interesting and bewildering book. On the one hand, it’s doom and gloom, on the other it encourages us to enjoy our lot in life. In particular, yesterday I was reflecting on this: Ecclesiastes 6:1-7 (CSBBible) – Here is a tragedy I have observed under the sun, and it weighs heavily on humanity: God gives a person riches, wealth, and honor so that he lacks nothing of all he desires for himself, but God does not allow him to enjoy them. Instead, a stranger will enjoy them. This is futile and a sickening tragedy. A man may father a hundred children and live many years. No matter how long he lives, if he is not satisfied by good things and does not even have a proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. For he comes in futility and he goes in darkness, and his name is shrouded in darkness. Though a stillborn child does not see the sun and is not conscious, it has more rest than he. And if a person lives a thousand years twice, but does not experience happiness, do not both go to the same place? All of a person’s labor is for his stomach, yet the appetite is never satisfied.

Pretty gloomy, eh? But think about it for a moment. As we sit in this COVID-19 world, we can learn something from this passage. It does seem strange and unfair that all we acquire or accomplish of a worldly nature in this life is stripped from us upon death, or even upon a strange turn of events in this life. A market downturn, a pandemic, a health issue – those things can strip us of our deluded security and even the option of enjoying the things we work for. All this tells me that if we find our purpose, meaning and enjoyment in things that can be so suddenly taken from us, aren’t we a bit on the crazy side?

I hope to spend more time during the lockdown – however long that may be – to readjust what gives me purpose, meaning and enjoyment and to refocus on that which can never be taken from me in this world or the next – Jesus.

PRAYER: Jesus, so much has been taken from so many during this pandemic and we long for a return of normalcy. I pray that we will use this time wisely to refocus on those things which nothing can ever take from us and find our greatest joy – the joy you designed us for – in drawing closer to you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/11/20 – The Blessedness of the Persecuted

In This Current Situation, Consider the Persecuted Church

DayBreaks for 5/11/20: The Blessedness of the Persecuted

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2010:

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness… – Jesus

Does persecution sound like something you look forward to?  Even the very word sounds painful.  I don’t know of anyone who would walk around and say, “You are fortunate when you are persecuted for doing good”…no one, that is, except Jesus.  Do I want to be persecuted?  No!  But Jesus says that if I am persecuted, I am fortunate/happy/blessed!

How can it possibly be true?  A brother at our congregation found the following and shared it with me.  I think that when you read it and contemplate it, you’ll see and agree that those who are persecuted for righteousness truly are the blessed:

When persecution comes into our lives then, according to Jesus, we must conclude the following:
That we have put our complete faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
That we can truly call ourselves Christians.
That we belong to the kingdom of God.
That we are righteous.
That we have been chosen by the Father and the Son.
That ours is the kingdom of God now and in the future.
That Jesus is truly our Lord and that is why we are being persecuted.
That our salvation is sure and certain.
That we are not false prophets.
That we are not worldly for the people of the world are not persecuted.
That we are in the very good company with many other saved Christians.
That we can know that we are truly born again.
That eternal life is ours.

Can there be any greater blessings than knowing these things?  Now the question is: will we live lives that will cause us to be persecuted for righteousness, or will we hide and remain invisible?

PRAYER: Jesus, we need the kind of courage you demonstrated in your lifetime, to bear persecution for the sake of your kingdom.  Give us spirits that don’t quail and quake in fear when we are confronted with the choice of living and acting in the cause of righteousness!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/8/20 – The Hunger and the Thirst

Early Morning Showers | 1788 Blessed are those who thirst after ...

DayBreaks for 5/08/20: The Hunger and the Thirst

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2010:

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. – Jesus

Just prior to my traveling to Haiti, I was getting ready to preach on the Beatitudes as part of a series I’ve been doing on the teaching of Jesus.  As I anticipated what I would see in Haiti, I had an intellectual and spiritual question: would the statements Jesus made in the Beatitudes hold up in the crucible of suffering in Haiti, or would they be found to be nice platitudes, but rather “leaky” when put to the test?  I wrestled with the questions posed by the Beatitudes while I was there, not the least of which was: do those who mourn in Haiti feel “blessed”? 

So as I contemplated the Beatitudes both before, during and after my time there, my curiosity traveled through the realm of skepticism and finally wound up in the land of confidence in the truth of Jesus’ statements in spite of conditions that many would think would show his words to be nothing more than nice-sounding oratory. 

How, for example, are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness filled?  Consider this story: an Albanian nun spent 16 years of her life teaching world geography to the wealthy daughters of British and Bengali parents.  A time came when she was on break from her duties.  She took a train trip to the Himalayas, and as the train carried her closer and closer to her destination, she heard a voice that called her to change the direction of her life – to stop teaching geography to the daughters of the rich and to start caring for the poor and hungry.  She not only heard that voice, but she yielded to it and began the ministry that would consume the rest of her life.  She is better known to the world as Mother Theresa. 

What does that have to do with hungering and thirsting after righteousness?  Everything.  Those people who spend their lives in caring for the orphans, the widows, the poor and hungry, do so not because of the material goods that they accumulate along the way, but because they are hungering and thirsting for righteousness itself.  They understand, deep in their souls, that Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. – James 1:27 Caring for such persons is at the heart of hungering and thirsting for righteousness for all of God’s creation. 

How are the selfless people who hunger and thirst after righteousness filled?  Ask yourself this question, and I think the answer will be obvious: do you think Mother Theresa was more filled during the later part of her life as she cared for the poor and outcast, or when she was teaching world geography?  It is pretty obvious, isn’t it? 

Are you hungering and thirsting for righteousness?  Do you want to see righteousness not only in your own life, but in the world?  Are you doing anything to join with God as He labors on behalf of the world’s “rejects”?  Are you tired of being empty?  Get hungry for real righteousness – and you will be filled!

PRAYER: Lord, increase our hunger and thirst for the things that you long for and that move your heart.  Fill our longing for a life that truly matters!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2010 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/04/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #25 – The Last Tear

Haiku – Flow & Tear | radhikasreflection

DayBreaks for 5/04/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #25 – The Last Tear

The following is the latest in a series of daily meditations amid the pandemic. Today’s musical pairing: a simple version of “Give Me Jesus” by Sara Watkins. All songs for this series have been gathered into a Spotify playlist.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. – Psalm 56:8 (NLT)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. – Revelation 21:4 (NIV)

Meditation 25. 3,305,595 confirmed cases, 235,861 deaths globally.

The Bible ends with an ecstatic vision. A new heaven and a new earth—and a new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband (Rev. 21:2). A voice cries out from the throne of heaven and declares, Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (Rev 21:3–4).

The heavenly proclamation includes an allusion to Isaiah 25:8: The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces.

It easy to forget how astonishing this is. The Jews had come to recognize that God is far greater than any other god people had ever imagined. They did not worship many gods and spirits. They worshipped a single God who created all things simply by speaking them into being. And yet that God, a God of transcendent power and ineffable majesty, also cares about the most minute sorrows of his people.

I live in a high and holy place, God says in Isaiah 57:15, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit. We may be tempted to dismiss it as a poetic sentiment. We shouldn’t. There is nothing more true than this. The immensity of the love of God is in the intimacy of his care. No sorrow is so small it escapes his attention. The God of the universe, the same God who set the span of the cosmos and rules over all time and space, gathers our tears in a bottle. For each of us. Our sufferings are remembered in God. Even the sorrows we never disclose to any person on the planet reside in him eternally…(Click here to read the rest of this devotion.)

PRAYER: There will come a day when the last tear is shed. Then, O Lord, we will live among you forever. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Christianity Today’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CTMagazine

 

DayBreaks for 4/09/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #15 – The Resurrection Has Not Been Cancelled

Divine Intention of the Resurrection from Romans 6 - Redeemer ...

DayBreaks for 4/09/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #15 – The Resurrection has Not been Cancelled

From Christianity Today and Tim Dalrymple, 4/08/20:

For today’s musical pairing, listen to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” commonly played on Easter Sunday but here rendered in a distilled, outdoor version.

“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” – Philippians 3:10–11

Meditation 15. 1,495,051 confirmed cases, 87,469 deaths globally.

Sister Benedicta Ward produced the most widely used translations of Sayings of the Desert Fathers and Lives of the Desert Fathers. I studied those works with her at her home in Oxford over the course of a beautiful spring. The books recount the practices and teachings of early Christian hermits and monks who made their homes in the most barren parts of Egypt.

I found myself in those discussions frequently referring to “dying to oneself.” Eventually she lifted her head and held up her hand. “We die to ourselves, yes,” she said. “But only so we can come alive to who we were really made to be, Christ within us.”

It was a gentle rebuke and it passed in a blink. But I have never stopped hearing those words.

In this season of affliction and this Holy Week, we approach the day on which we remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. With so much suffering around us and within us, it’s natural and right to reflect on the suffering of our Savior. But even in the darkest of times, we should never stay there. Jesus didn’t.

The Cross by itself is an extraordinary act of love and self-sacrifice. But it cannot be separated from the empty tomb. Apart from the empty tomb, Jesus is not a savior at all. Apart from the empty tomb, the story of the cross would be a story of the death of hope and the defeat of God.

This is not unknown to those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ. We have already experienced a foretaste of the resurrection. We have experienced Christ bringing new life—bringing his life—forth within us. We are, each of us, living proof that God brings life into the dead places. We only truly live when we die and Christ lives in us.

Church doors are closed. Schools are no longer meeting. Businesses are shuttered. Restaurants and cafés are empty, cinema screens are dark, and concert halls are silent. Countless meetings and gatherings, weddings and funerals, conferences and events have been canceled.

The resurrection is not canceled…(Click this link to read the rest of the meditation.)

PRAYER: We implore you, O Lord, bring life out of death again today. Let it start in us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Link to Christianity Today’s Facebook page

The Hallway Through the Sea is a series of daily meditations from the president and CEO of Christianity Today, written specifically for those struggling through the coronavirus pandemic. It will address our sense of fear and isolation and also the ways we find beauty and truth and hope—and Christ himself—in the midst of suffering. The title of the column alludes to the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea. We are a people redeemed from our enslavement to sin, yet we find ourselves living between where we were and where we are meant to be. Danger looms on both sides, but our hope and our faith is that God will deliver us through the sea and into the land of promise. If you wish, you can follow Timothy Dalrymple on Twitter @TimDalrymple_

PREVIOUS THE HALLWAY THROUGH THE SEA MEDITATIONS:

Out of the Depths

Chosen in the Furnace

The First Word and the Last

More . . .

 

DayBreaks for 4/03/20 – The Hallway Through the Sea #12 – Joy Comes Morning

Sunrise Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

DayBreaks for 4/03/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #12 – Joy Comes in the Morning

From Christianity Today and Tim Dalrymple, 4/03/20:

Today’s musical pairing is Saint-Saëns’ The Swan performed by Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott. Note that all the songs for this series have been gathered into a Spotify playlist here.

“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” – James 1:16–17 (ESV)

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” – John 15:11

Day 12. 1,056,777 confirmed cases, 55,781 deaths globally.

At first it felt like a cramp. Like a long hand had reached into my chest, wrapped its fingers around my heart, and squeezed. I wondered if my body was dehydrated and the muscles in my chest were clamping down. Surely I could not be suffering a heart attack? I was only 38 years old, and I had just finished exercising at the gym. But the pain was not on the left side or the right side. It was in the middle.

I laid down in the hope it would pass. Slowly it became harder to breathe, harder to speak. We called an ambulance. My children were in the childcare room 30 yards away. Should I say goodbye, just in case? By the time my wife arrived, my face was ashen.

At the first hospital, tests showed “irregularities.” I should be moved to a different hospital. On the way, I heard the ambulance driver say the words “heart attack.” I sent text messages to the family of my birth. Apparently I’m having a heart attack, I said. When I arrived at the next hospital and entered the procedure room for a stent, I told the doctor, “I have a wife and young daughters,” in the hope it might inspire a little extra determination to keep me alive.

That’s what it felt like to have a heart attack. Then it felt like flashes of fear in the night as you wonder whether your heartbeat feels normal; a staggered coming-to-grips with the trauma of what occurred; concern your spouse should be provided for; grieving at the thought of your children standing over an early grave; taking more pictures than normal so they will have something to look back on.

Then it felt like—joy. Joy to be alive. Joy at the simple pleasure of drawing breath and feeling the sweet stillness of a moment. Joy at the way the sunlight feels when it lifts the water off your skin. Joy at the warmth of your beloved’s breath upon your cheek. Joy at how the glowing light dances across the embers of a fire, and the sparks tumble skyward.

Sometimes we need to view our lives through a mirror. In our sorrow we learn to appreciate joy. In loss we discover how much we have gained. Death reflects the sacredness and fragility of life.

One thing I have heard amid the pandemic is this: Is it okay to feel joy? Is it acceptable, when so many are suffering, that I am finding joy in additional time for stillness or for family? (Click this link to read the rest of the meditation.)

Link to Christianity Today’s Facebook page

The Hallway Through the Sea is a series of daily meditations from the president and CEO of Christianity Today, written specifically for those struggling through the coronavirus pandemic. It will address our sense of fear and isolation and also the ways we find beauty and truth and hope—and Christ himself—in the midst of suffering. The title of the column alludes to the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea. We are a people redeemed from our enslavement to sin, yet we find ourselves living between where we were and where we are meant to be. Danger looms on both sides, but our hope and our faith is that God will deliver us through the sea and into the land of promise. If you wish, you can follow Timothy Dalrymple on Twitter @TimDalrymple_

PREVIOUS THE HALLWAY THROUGH THE SEA COLUMNS:

Out of the Depths

Chosen in the Furnace

The First Word and the Last

More . . .

Link to video with facts, symptoms and prevention tips about coronavirus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AITtaAAAdYc

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 3/25/20 – The Hallway Through the Sea, #5: Joy Is Wiser Than Sorrow

Image result for joy and sorrow

DayBreaks for 3/25/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #5 – Joy is Wiser than Sorrow

From Christianity Today and Tim Dalrymple, 3/24/20:

For today’s musical pairing, listen to this selection from Max Richter’s recomposition of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons , with Mari Samuelsen on violin. You’ll forgive the quality of the recording when you see the quality of the performance. Listen to Richter’s original album here.

“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
Romans 8:31–32

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

Day 5. 398,107 confirmed cases, 17,454 deaths globally.

Is it premature to talk about joy? Countless people are suffering. Fear haunts our houses. Our cities are desolate, our schools shuttered, our hospitals overwhelmed. Fathers and mothers wonder how they will feed their children.

We mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep. These are devastating times. It is not wrong to grieve, or lament, or cry out.

And yet joy is like a gem, most valuable when it is most rare. When the world can find no reason for joy, that Christians do find reason is a powerful testimony.

Christian joy is more profound than simple happiness. There is nothing shallow or glib or naive about it. Christian joy, in the face of suffering, is a hard, rugged, and defiant thing.

The apostle Paul was acquainted with suffering. He was persecuted and beaten and shipwrecked. Yet he knew that this life is filled with the opportunity to discover and to follow Jesus Christ and in the next life we will be with him. What greater cause for joy could there be? Paul knows that the same God who gave the greatest gift will not fail to give us lesser gifts. So even when we are embattled, even when we are beset with suffering, we have cause for an undefeated joy. Our sorrow is rooted in our circumstances, but circumstances are fleeting. Our joy is rooted in the love of God, and the love of God lasts forever…

Click this link to read the rest of this meditation. 

Link to Christianity Today’s Facebook page: facebook.com/CTMagazine

PRAYER: Lord, though the night may be dark, let us look to the morning when joy will come in all its fullness! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Hallway Through the Sea is a series of daily meditations from the president and CEO of Christianity Today, written specifically for those struggling through the coronavirus pandemic. It will address our sense of fear and isolation and also the ways we find beauty and truth and hope—and Christ himself—in the midst of suffering. The title of the column alludes to the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea. We are a people redeemed from our enslavement to sin, yet we find ourselves living between where we were and where we are meant to be. Danger looms on both sides, but our hope and our faith is that God will deliver us through the sea and into the land of promise.

Timothy Dalrymple is president and CEO of Christianity Today. Follow him on Twitter @TimDalrymple_

PREVIOUS THE HALLWAY THROUGH THE SEA COLUMNS:

Out of the Depths

Chosen in the Furnace

The First Word and the Last

More . . .

 

Link to video with facts, symptoms and prevention tips about coronavirus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AITtaAAAdYc

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 3/02/20 – A Different Attitude

Image result for olympic medals

DayBreaks for 3/2/20: A Different Attitude

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2010:

I am not lucky when it comes to contests.  I am told (mostly by my wife and also my good friend, Ken) that I am a pretty competitive individual.  I don’t see it, but I guess that they do.  I’m not sure if that’s good or bad but I’m certain it could be either – or both – depending on what it is that I might be competitive about!  I don’t like to lose.  And sometimes, if I don’t think that I’ve really got a reasonable chance of success, I won’t even compete because I dislike losing that much. 

How we feel about winning and losing probably says a lot more about us than we want to admit.  I know those who lose and then they sulk about it for days or weeks.  And that’s especially true, it seems, the closer they came to victory.  Consider running the 100-meter dash in the Olympics.  Such an event draws the fastest men and women in the world – people who literally can run like the wind.  In such a short race, with such a high caliber of competitors, the difference between winning and losing is often measured in hundredths of a second – faster than the blink of an eye. 

Can you imagine what it would be like to have trained for year after year after year – perhaps a decade or more – only to lose the Olympic 100-meter dash by .01 second?  It would be crushing.

A fascinating study done by Professor Vicki Medvec reveals the relative importance of subjective attitudes over and above objective circumstances. In her study, she studied Olympic medalists and discovered that bronze medalists were quantifiably happier than silver medalists. Here’s why: Silver medalists tended to focus on how close they came to winning gold, so they weren’t satisfied with silver; bronze medalists tended to focus on how close they came to not winning a medal at all, so they were just happy to be on the medal stand. 

Again, in the case of an Olympic race, the difference between 2nd place and 3rd place (silver or bronze medal) may be only .01 second (or less).  I find it very telling that the third place finishers didn’t feel worse, and in fact felt better, than the second place competitors. 

What does this say about us?  Perhaps it is a lesson in thankfulness and grace: none of us can run the race that Jesus ran – He is the hand’s down winner and no one is even close to Him in terms of holiness.  I suspect that the Pharisees, to the extent that they allowed the truth of their sin to come to the surface, beat themselves up incessantly about their sin, thinking things like, “I was sooooo close to being as holy as God wants me to be!”  Balderdash.  Not one of us can say that. 

I don’t know about you, but when the heavenly dawn breaks for me, I will be thrilled to be on the victory stand and look up at the One who won the race not only for me, but for everyone who puts their trust in Him.  I know I will have no right to be there…I would be more than content to be the stable boy for Jesus’ great white war horse for eternity.  But God won’t permit that.  He has made us His beloved children, He will give us the crown of life, and we will be so eternally thankful that we won’t worry, as did the disciples on the night that Jesus was betrayed, about who is “the greatest.”  It will be perfectly clear Who the Greatest will be!

PRAYER: Help us to have attitudes of thankfulness for what you have done for us, for our destiny and for the joy that awaits us and not to be envious or jealous of those who we might be tempted to look up to in this life.  Let us lift our eyes to see only Jesus and to praise Him for all eternity!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>