DayBreaks for 6/22/18 – Do You Mortify?

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DayBreaks for 6/22/18: Do You Mortify?

Romans 8:12-13 (ESV) So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

The Continental Divide runs up from South America all the way up into Canada. On the eastern side, all the water runs toward the Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico, on the western side toward the Pacific. You can literally stand in the road and have one foot on the eastern side and one on the western side. It’s easy when there to move from one extreme to the other. But it’s far harder to move from unholiness to holiness.

Through the middle of our lives is a divide – far wider and far more significant that the Continental Divide.
Earlier in Romans 8:5-8, Paul describes that our minds must be changed, transformed. But that’s not enough. Verses 9-11 say our entire being must be transformed – not just our minds, but our bodies/fleshly nature, too.

The real application here comes in verses 12-13 where we are, by the Spirit (not by our own power!), to put to death the deeds of the body. The whole thing is predicated on verse 12 where Paul says we are not debtors to the flesh. The word debtors here would be better translated as “obligated.” We are not obligated any longer to live in the ways of the flesh. We have the Spirit of God in us.

John Owen, writing long ago, said that we must “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.” What is called for is a continual rampage against sin in our lives. We are told to kill it, to mortify, to put it to death.

The billion dollar question though, is are you, am I, mortifying the flesh? Consider this analogy: if an intruder broke into your home and began firing bullets at your family trying to kill them, what would you do? We wouldn’t just invite them to sit down for a cup of coffee so we could discuss things. We would FIGHT – even to the point of killing that intruder in order to preserve the life and peace of our family.

How are we fighting sin? Are we fighting it with the same (or more!) passion as we would that intruder? Or, are we unwilling to kill sin because we want to be able to play with sin once every so often? Have we become so afraid of legalism that we’ve forgotten about the demand for holiness? Yes, God is gracious – far more gracious than we can imagine – but God is very clear: we are to kill sin in our lives by the Spirit. That means letting the Spirit do the killing, but that can only happen as we yield to Him and His control.

We can’t afford to be ho-hum about sin. The devil isn’t ho-hum in his attack on us. Our death is his intention! How could we be ho-hum about our sin when we see the price Jesus paid on Calvary to rescue us from it?

Let’s fight like our lives depend on it – and let Jesus’ holiness that has been credited to us take care of the times we fail.

PRAYER: Jesus, we aren’t very good at killing sin. We cannot do it on our own. Let us cry to you every single day and put our will and fleshly desire to death. Let your Spirit have that work in us that we so desperately need! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

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DayBreaks for 6/21/18 – The Most Important Sins

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DayBreaks for 6/21/18: The Most Important Sins

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2008:

Long ago, the Roman Catholic church came up with a list of sins that they said were “mortal”, or deadly.  Naturally, they were the sins that the church felt were the worst sins of all.  That’s why they were called deadly.

Are there certain sins that really bug you?  By that I don’t mean sins that you struggle with yourself.  We all have sins like that, too.  What I mean is certain sins that really make you mad, that you just can’t understand and which disgust you and make your stomach turn? 

In his little, but thought-provoking book, The Smell of Sin, Don Everts had a very interesting insight.  He wrote: When we sit down to list the sins that bug us, are they ever the sins we struggle so deeply with?  Or are we quick to ignore the logs in our own eyes while focusing so intently and with such passion on the specks in the eyes of those around us?…Jesus never made a hierarchy of sins.  Sins of idolizing money are just as smelly as sexual sins…So the most important sins must always be our own.  Our own.

You get the point: the sins that should really bug us are PRECISELY the sins that we struggle with ourselves.  Not the sins of someone else, but our own.   We need to a change of heart about what sins turn our stomach, even as they turn Jesus’.  Let us live with the attitude and understanding that the most important sins are mine.

PRAYER: Lord, we are so prone to minimizing our own sins and thinking that they don’t stink in Your nostrils like the sins that we hate.  Let us never shrug our shoulders at our own sin.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 6/15/18 – The Lifestyle of a Tourist

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DayBreaks for 6/15/18: The Lifestyle of a Tourist

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2008:

It was only about a month ago that I was a tourist.  My wife and I were on vacation in Florida, at the world’s number one vacation city: Orlando.  We lived in Florida many years ago, but I was stunned at how much Orlando had changed.  The air was still hot and humid, but everything else had changed.  The orange groves that used to blossom and smell so sweet were nowhere to be seen.  But there I was, in my shorts and touristy-looking shirts.  I’m sure that wherever we went, we were quickly spotted as tourists. 

Tourists live a different lifestyle than residents.  Tourists don’t have to get up and go to work in the mornings.  Tourists don’t have to cook, mow the grass, wash the car or water the lawn.  When you’re a tourist, someone does all that for you.  And that’s not bad.

But what is sad is when Christians start to live all their lives as if they are tourists.  By that I don’t mean living as sojourners in a strange land – for we are to live like that!  What is bad about being a Christian living as if you’re a tourist is that tourists are often living on a tight schedule – too many things planned to see and do and not enough time to really enjoy any of it.  And so tourists want shortcuts – shortcuts through the lines at DisneyWorld, shortcuts through security at the airport, shortcuts to getting your luggage and to hit the road for adventure. 

Christians live like tourists when we want shortcuts through the life that God has designed and given to us.  We want instant sermons, shorter worship.  People seem to want a list of things they can do that will earn them instant credit at the gates of heaven.  People, Christians – don’t want to take the longer way and learn things as they go.  We are far too impatient for results and don’t focus nearly enough on the process and what it is meant to teach us.  It is interesting that, of all people, Friedrich Nietzsche (who was certainly no friend of Christ or Christianity) saw this so clearly: “The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is…that there should be long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.”  And the world tries to crush that “long obedience in the same direction” out of us, leading us to despair and give up.

Yes, we are like nomads in this world.  But we are not to be tourists.  We are residents here.  We are to engage in the sometimes long and painful processes that shape us, and which in turn, shape the world.  God isn’t looking for heavenly tourists – he wants folks who are coming to the kingdom to stay! 

PRAYER: Jesus, you persevered so much in this world and have given us an illustration of what it means to live as a stranger in a foreign place, yet remain fully engaged with life.  Help us to be patient – to see the blessing in the process and not just in the ending.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 5/30/18 – Satan’s Strategy

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DayBreaks for 5/30/18: Satan’s Stragegy

It pays to know your enemy.  Ask any soldier and they’ll tell you that it’s important to understand how the enemy thinks, what their strategy is in given circumstances, what kind of tools, equipment and weaponry they have at their disposal.  It is only a fool who goes into battle without having considered the capabilities of the enemy. 

We spend a lot of time as Christians contemplating Christ and what he has done.  It is only right that it should be so, for one cannot dwell on the subject and person of Jesus too much.  Still, I can’t help but wonder if we don’t gather too little “intelligence” on our enemy, Satan.  Fortunately, Scripture is full of information on how Satan works to draw us into sin.

What is the impression that most people have about Christianity?  They believe Christians are repressed, and repressive, because the critics of Christians believe God is repressive.  Do you know why?  It’s because of the very first lie that Satan told – his first deception.  When he approached Eve, he caused her to come to the conclusion that God was repressive because He’d said, “Thou shalt not eat.”    By drawing God into question by saying (paraphrased): “Did got really say you couldn’t eat anything at all that you wanted to?”, he put the concept of a repressive God into human minds.  And it’s been there ever since. 

Is God repressive?  Eve had it right originally in her response: “No, we can eat of any tree except one.”  Does that sound repressive?  There was only one prohibition, and it was so that they could remain free from guilt.  But Satan’s strategy is, as Don Everts put it, “subtle wooing,” not blatant aggression.  He wants to mislead us, not frighten us.  He wants us to think he is our friend, after all. 

But there’s only one friend who laid down his life for us…and it wasn’t Satan.  That speaks volumes.

PRAYER:  Steel our hearts against the enemy of our souls, Lord.  Help us to see that repression leads to slavery, but grace to forgiveness and freedom!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 4/13/18 – A Look into God’s Heart

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DayBreaks for 4/13/18: A Look into God’s Heart   

The stories in Joshua are fascinating. They’ve finished their punishment for doubting in the wilderness. The bones of the generation that left Egypt, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, lay bleaching in the wilderness sun.  They’ve come to the Jordan and crossed it. They defeated Jericho with the commander of the Lord’s army winning the victory. The people had to be excited about the great victory!

Then comes a rather tragic incident. Not long afterwards, the Israelites go up against the relatively insignificant (compared to Jericho!) town of Ai. At Ai, they are resoundingly defeated. Joshua and the rest of the Israelites had to be confounded. Hadn’t God promised them the land and victory? Yes, but it was always conditional on following God’s commands. And one man, Achan, out of the entire Hebrew people, had kept some spoils (which was forbidden by God) from the victory and hidden them. That is what led to the defeat – you see, God knew and saw what had happened. And so this was a very strong lesson to the Israelites that God was serious when he gave commands. He expected them to be obeyed.

After the sin of Achan is dealt with, Israel goes on to battle against 5 kings near Gibeon – and they are again decisive victors! But there was something special that happened: the sun stood still in the sky so Israel could finish defeating the attacking kings. This is what it says: There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD heeded the voice of a man, for the LORD fought for Israel.Joshua 10:14

This shows us two things about God’s heart:

FIRST: He means what he says. Just ask Achan and the Israelites who fell in battle because of one man’s sinful rebellion. And since God never changes – what he said long ago is still true today – and he still means what he says.

SECOND: How quick the Lord is to forgive and restore! Yes, Israel had been punished, but it says that God heeded the voice of a man and fought for Israel. Why? Because they were his people – and he loved them!

Our God loved his people long ago, and since he never changes, he still loves his people today whether they are red, yellow, brown, black or white. He doesn’t care what language we speak, or what gender we are, or what country we live in. It is his desire, even after disciplining us, to return us to his favor and grant his blessing!

You may have failed him, but don’t lose heart. Return in repentance and you WILL be welcomed!

PRAYER: Thank you for being the God of second, third and one billionth chances! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 4/10/18 – God’s Strange “No”

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DayBreaks for 4/10/18: God’s Strange “No”

There is a fascinating story in Joshua that is easily missed. Moses has died. After waiting 40 years, Joshua is ready to take up the mantle of leadership from Moses. As they prepare to cross the Jordan and enter into the promised land, Joshua has a very strange encounter.

Joshua 5:13-15 says: When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Here’s what is fascinating (aside from the fact of the encounter itself). Joshua was going to be the military leader for the campaign (or so he thought). But he finds himself face to face with “a man”. I don’t know how impressive the man may have looked, but he certainly was mysterious. Who was this “commander of the army of the LORD”? Many believe it was Jesus in a pre-incarnate form. (Oddly enough, Jesus, or Yeshua, was Joshua’s name…so Joshua was speaking with Joshua/Yeshua, who would also be a conqueror, but of a different kind.)

The first word this “man” speaks is simply “No.” In other words, “I’m not for you and I’m not for your adversaries.” What are we to make of that? I’m sure Joshua was hoping for something like “Yes, of course I’m for you!”  But he didn’t get that response. 

This “man” was for the LORD God Almighty. He wasn’t for one tribe or another. He was for God’s plan and work. It is as if he’s saying a couple things to Joshua:

FIRST: You are not the commander of God’s army. I am. You will not be fighting, you will not gain the victories. God will. How quickly we forget that in our own battles!!!

SECOND: This “man” is essentially throwing a challenge to Joshua, something like this: “You will make a choice whether or not you will be part of my judgment…will you be an agent of justice/judgment or an object of judgment? If you take the role as an agent of justice but then shirk back, you are all the more likely to become an object of judgment.” It is as if God was saying, “If you act like the inhabitants of the land, you’ll be the first to go into judgment.”

I can’t help but wonder how much I’ve become like the inhabitants of the land, how much the church has become like the inhabitants of the land/world. It is frightening to contemplate.

The day will come when we stand before the leader of God’s army. I hope we will all have chosen to be part of his campaign to bring justice and righteousness to his creation.

PRAYER: Lord, the very idea of becoming objects of judgment is terrifying. Give us the courage to choose wisely and consistently to be on your side! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 4/05/18 – A Horse or a Foal?

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DayBreaks for 4/05/18: A Horse or a Foal?

From the DayBreaks archive, 1998:

The ancient Jewish rabbis used to say, “When the Messiah comes, if Israel is ready, He will come riding a white horse.  But if Israel is not ready, He will ride a foal.”  It should be no surprise to us that when Jesus appeared outside of the city of Jerusalem nearly 2000 years ago, he wasn’t on a horse, but a foal.  Israel wasn’t ready, even though there were people who cheered for him as he approached, they either cheered because they were his close followers (who were few in number compared to the population of Jerusalem – especially during Passover) or because they misunderstood who he was and what his mission was.

His approach has been called the Triumphal Entry, but that name is really a misnomer.  How could it be considered Triumphal when he was weeping?  And they weren’t tears of joy.  Luke described the scene as Jesus reached the spot along the road where the terrain ascends and the first glimpse of the city appears.  When pilgrims made the journey for the feasts, they would usually reach this spot and sing songs of joyful praise.  Not Jesus.  He didn’t sing.  He wept. 

There are 2 Greek words for crying.  One of them is the word for tear and gives the picture of a teardrop running down the cheek.  That word is used to describe inward crying and it is used in the phrase “Jesus wept” in the story of Lazarus in John 11.  The other word refers to loud, noisy weeping, and that is the word Luke uses to describe Jesus’ crying over the city of Jerusalem as he approaches it for the final time.  He wasn’t shedding simple little tears – he was sobbing out loud without restraint over the rejection by the people of the One who could give them peace.

The above thoughts were gleaned from Michael Card’s book, “Emmanuel – Reflections on the Life of Christ”.  We need to think about these things and made application to our lives:

If Jesus were to come riding to your house today, would he come on a white horse (signifying you were ready for him), or a foal?  What is your heart condition?  Have you, in ways big or small, rejected the only One who can give you peace?

What does Jesus see when he looks at the panorama of your life?  Is he moved to tears of happiness because of your love and the expression he sees of obedience as a result of that love, or does he sob as a result of what he sees? 

PRAYER: Jesus, search our hearts and show us the effect our lives have on you. We don’t want to make you weep, we want to bring you joy! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.