DayBreaks for 3/19/19 – Use versus Value

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DayBreaks for 3/19/19: Use Versus Value

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

Oswald Chambers devotion for February 21 had this to say: “To be surrendered to God is of more value than our personal holiness. Concern over our personal holiness causes us to focus our eyes on ourselves, and we look, out of fear of offending God…”but perfect love cast out fear…” once we are surrendered to God (I John 4:18). We should quit asking ourselves, “Am I of any use?” and accept the truth that we really are not of much use to Him. The issue is never of being of use, but of being of value to God Himself. Once we are totally surrendered to God, He will work through us all the time.”

Wow. Pretty profound. Consider:

“Concern over our personal holiness causes us to focus our eyes on ourselves…” We should pay attention to personal holiness, right? Sure. But should be worry over it? No. Why? Well, to borrow a few words from Jesus: which of us by thought or effort can make ourselves holier than God has already made us? If we have been cleansed by the blood of Christ, you just can’t get any holier than that! Yet we stare at the face in the mirror and get overwhelmed by the guilt-stricken individual that we see. When will we learn to fully trust Christ’s work for us on the cross? That the cleansing isn’t temporary or partial or incomplete, but that it is full, complete and eternal? We spend too much time looking at ourselves and our failings and not nearly enough looking at what God has done. We need to surrender our concern about our holiness to Him because He is the One who has pronounced us righteous and holy.

As to the usefulness statements: does it hurt you to know that you aren’t of use to God? Well, I mean, in a way, when you get right down to it, He doesn’t need anything that we can do for Him. He doesn’t need us to make money so He can continue to live surrounded by heaven’s luxuries, He doesn’t need us to make Him dinner, He doesn’t need us at all. He is Self-sufficient. How can you be of use to anyone who is absolute in all regards? You can’t. But as Chambers notes, there is a huge difference between being of use and being of value. Think about it: how much usefulness is there in a 3-day old baby? Not much. They can’t do anything for you. They are helpless and dependent. But now let us ask the other question: how much value does that 3-day old baby have to you? Get the point?

God doesn’t need either me…or you. But does He value you? Absolutely! He places such a high value on you that He bankrupted heaven of its greatest treasure just for you!

Prayer: Help us to trust in the completed work of Jesus and the cleansing You have given us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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DayBreaks for 3/13/19 – It’s the Truth

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DayBreaks for 3/13/19: It’s the Truth

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  – Matthew 9:9-13 (NIV)

I recently received an email from a believer in which this person was a bit despairing about their Christ-walk.  On the one hand, I find that encouraging.  It says that the Spirit is still speaking to them – and that they are listening.  It is important that we listen to the Spirit and His take on our walk.  But, I have found in my own experience that the enemy can also attempt to convince me that because I’m not walking as close to Christ as I should and because that’s been true of nearly all my life, that I should just give up now and stop trying.  After all, if I stop trying, I’ll stop feeling guilty, right?  I’ll lose my shame, right?  No…those things are emotions that are planted deep within us.  We would just be in denial.

Then, I was thinking about this passage in Matthew.  I love what Jesus says, For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.  Who, after all, would there have been for Jesus to call if he’d come to call the righteous?  No one!  His expectation for is that this: we are sinners.  We will be sinners until the day we die.  We will always be sinners as long as we breathe the atmosphere of this world.  He knows it, he expects it and isn’t shocked by it.  If you are a sinner, Jesus came to call you…and He calls you still, day in and day out through the loving voice of the Spirit.  The Spirit will never encourage you to give up your faith walk.  Only the enemy will do that.  The Spirit will point out to you and to me our need for greater righteousness, but He is a comforter, a friend, who encourages us to walk forward into greater holiness and obedience. 

So, if you’re feeling down about your sinfulness and poor Christian walk, determine if you’re hearing from the enemy who wants to defeat you in your walk with Christ because you are a sinner, or the Spirit who wants to encourage you in your walk with Christ even though you are a sinner.  There’s a world of difference…and that’s the truth.

Prayer:  What a comfort it is to know, Lord, that you know we’re sinners and you came for us and you come to us over and over through your Spirit to encourage us and lead us into greater obedience, love and holiness.  Give us the wisdom to discern the voice of the Spirit and to distinguish it from the voice of Satan!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/06/19 – Signs and Decisions

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DayBreaks for 3/06/19: Signs and Decisions

From the DayBreaks archive February 2009:

“In my experience, signs follow decisions. The way you overcome spiritual inertia and produce spiritual momentum is by making tough decisions. And the tougher the decision, the more potential momentum it will produce. The primary reason most of us don’t see God moving is simply because we aren’t moving. If you want to see God move, you need to make a move!

“I learned this lesson in dramatic fashion during the first year at National Community Church. We had been praying for a drummer to join our worship team for months, but I felt like I needed to put some feet on my faith, so I went out and bought a four-hundred-dollar drum set. It was a Field of Dreams moment: if you buy it, they will come. I bought the drum set on a Thursday. Our first drummer showed up the next Sunday. And he was good. He was actually part of the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps.

“Rock and roll.

“I cannot promise that signs will follow your faith in three minutes or three hours or three days. But when you take a step of faith, signs will follow. God will sanctify your expectations, and you will begin to live your life with holy anticipation. You won’t be able to wait to see what God is going to do next.” – Matt Batterson, Wild Goose Chase, 2008

Abraham had to pack his bags and family before he took the first step.  Noah worked for years before the first drop of rain fell.  Moses had to stretch out his hand before the Red Sea parted.  The high priests had to put their foot in the flowing Jordan before God stopped the water.  Elijah had to pray, build altars, douse them with water…before fire fell from the sky.  The apostles had to go in faith that Jesus would be with them when they went out into a hostile world. 

What step of faith is God asking you to take for Him?  Have you decided to do it…but have yet to take the first step?  Why are you waiting?

Prayer: Give us courage, Lord, to act in faith…trusting that You will be with us and bring about Your desired result!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/8/19 – The Impala Problem

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DayBreaks for 2/08/2019: The Impala Problem

One of the few creatures on earth that could out-jump Michael Jordan is the Impala. This is an African deer that possesses supercharged spring. It has a vertical leap of over 10 feet and can broad jump over 30 feet. You would think that the zoos of the world would find it impossible to keep such an animal enclosed. Not so! It’s rather easy. Because the experts discovered something about the Impala. It will not jump unless it can see where it is going to land. Therefore, a solid wall even 6 feet tall is a sufficient enclosure.

Lots of Christians (perhaps all of us at times) have the Impala problem. We won’t take a leap in faith unless they have all the answers in advance about where the leap will take them and whether or not we’ll land safely. But God is looking for some bold believers who, even in the face of the unknown, will leap when the Spirit says leap, will fly when the Spirit says fly, will launch when the Spirit says launch, all to the glory of the Lord.

Are you being challenged right now to take a leap of faith even though you can’t see how it could possibly make sense or work out for good? Trust the Lord and leap!

Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT2) – “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

PRAYER: Lord, may our faith in you be based on your integrity and not on whether or not we can see the end of each choice along the way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/17/19 – There Is No Other Stream

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DayBreaks for 01/17/2019: There Is No Other Stream

There’s a story in The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis about a girl named Jill Pole, and Aslan, the great Christ-figure lion in the story.  Jill has grown thirsty in the forest, and she hears the sound of the stream in the distance.  Her thirst drives her to find the stream so she can drink.  She knows that a great lion is afoot, so she’s cautious.  Finally, she sees the stream, but is terrified by what she sees.  Her thirst is like a fire, but sitting by the stream of water is Aslan, the huge lion, very much alive, though sitting very still.  She waits until she’s nearly crazed from thirst, hoping he’ll go away, but he doesn’t budge.

Suddenly, he spoke: “If you are thirsty, you may drink.”  Jill is startled and holds back.  “Are you not thirsty?, said the Lion.

“I am dying of thirst,” said Jill.

“Then drink,” said the lion.

“May I..could I..would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.  The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl.  And just as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.  The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her near frantic.

“Will you promise not to – do anything to me, if I come?”

“I make no promise,” said the Lion.  Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.

“Do you eat girls?” she said.

“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion.  It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry.  It just said it.

“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.

“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.

“Oh, dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer.  “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”

“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.”

I’ve been thirsty before – what I considered (at the time) as desperately thirsty, although I’m sure it was nothing compared to what some have endured.  I like this story from The Silver Chair because it describes the decision that we must all make: the God of Scripture is a wild, untamed God who has crushed empires literally overnight.  He is a God who does as He pleases, for the reasons that suit His purposes, for His glory – and not for ours.  He is a God who makes no excuses (and because He is God and Sovereign) and who needs no excuses to be made for Him or offered up for Him.  He simply is God – God Almighty and no one can thwart Him in anything He decides to do.  He is alternately terrifying and the tender One who holds little children on His lap and blesses them.  He is everywhere at all times and at times disturbingly silent and seemingly absent.  He is a God who is not content to have just created – but a God who chooses to insert Himself into His creation when and if it pleases Him – but who at other times is maddeningly distant.

What will happen if we come to the river to drink?  This God is frightening – just ask Jill Pole.  But there is no other stream – there is no fountain of youth and there is no other fountain of Life than that which flowed from the veins and mercy of Christ.  Come to the stream – drink – be refreshed and know that He remains God – and you are not He.

John 4:10 (NIV)Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.

John 4:13-14 (NIV)Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

PRAYER: You are high and lifted up, Lord God Almighty.  We tremble in fear of Your great power and come timidly before You where we are encouraged by Your welcome and invitation to drink – and find not death, but Life!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/16/19 – When the Wine Runs Out

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DayBreaks for 01/16/2019: When the Wine Runs Out

The world famous Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway was a person who went for it all. A newspaper reporter, ambulance driver during WWII, involved in the Spanish Civil War, friend to bullfighters as well as authors–he did it all. And, when he did it he did it to the fullest. In a manner of speaking he enjoyed the wine of life. But there came a day when the wine of joy ran out.

Carlos Baker records it in his biography of Hemingway in this way: Sunday morning dawned bright and cloudless. Ernest awoke early as always. He put on the red “Emperor’s robe” and padded softly down the padded stairway. The early sunlight lay in pools on the living room floor. He had noticed that the guns were locked up in the basement, but the keys, as he well knew, were on the window ledge above the kitchen sink. He tiptoed down the basement stairs and unlocked the storage room. It smelled as dank as a grave. He chose a double barreled shotgun with a tight choke. He had used it for years to shoot pigeon’s. He took some shells from one of the boxes in the storage room, closed and locked the door, and climbed the basement stairs. If he saw the bright day outside, it did not deter him. He crossed the living room to the front foyer, a shrine-like entryway five feet by seven feet, with oak-paneled walls and a floor of linoleum tile. He slipped in two shells, lowered the gun butt carefully to the floor, leaned forward, pressed the twin barrels against his forehead just about the eyebrows and tripped both triggers.

What are you going to do when the wine runs out? Hemingway turned to the easy way out, but it was the way out to what? He turned to a gun to deal with his pain. I would rather turn to Jesus and godly friends to help me through the pain. I hope you will, too.

Prayer: Father, in your children’s pain, let us feel your presence and love as never before and give us the wisdom and strength to run to your arms! Help us remember that the pain is only fleeting and that joy comes again in the eternal morning. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/14/19 – Maybe His Greatest Mercy

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DayBreaks for 01/14/2019: Maybe His Greatest Mercy

Mercy. It’s somewhat defined as not getting what you deserve, for example, when a judge is merciful from the bench instead of jailing a woman who stole a loaf of bread to feed her starving children. When thinking of mercy and the human condition, we are talking about God in his mercy not destroying us all because of our sin. That’s his mercy in action. So that is without a doubt his greatest mercy. But let’s take that mercy off the table for the purposes of our thinking for now. What would the next greatest mercy of God toward us be?

Every week at church there is a video of someone giving a testimony of their life. It is wonderful to hear the testimonies of what God has done in the lives of the men and women who share their stories. But this Sunday, the man who shared his story said something that really struck me so I wrote it down. He asked the question: “Could it be that His greatest mercy is that he never gives me what I think I want?”

What is it that I want? Do I want his rule in my life or self-rule? That answer is pretty obvious isn’t it? We rebel against his rule and each “go our own way.” We want what we want, whether that is money, fame, a new spouse, prestige, pleasure, escape or just fun times. And we demonstrate that with our sinful choices.

What if God gave us all that we think we want? What would the effect be on our homes and families? If God gave us endless pleasure because that’s what we’re pursuing, would we even bother to seek him out and to long for a better world in which people live?  Why would we every think to pray, “Thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”? Would we be so content that anything to do with heaven and righteousness would be wiped from our minds forever? And why would we even both to seek the purpose in our existence if everything I want is obtainable here? I don’t think I would.

And so God demonstrates his mercy to me by not giving me what I think I want. And I need him to change my heart to be happy and content with what He wants for me.

PRAYER: God, thank you for your mercy in not giving us what we think we want, or many times not giving us what we ask for! Change our hearts so that what you desire for us is our greatest desire. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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