DayBreaks for 10/23/17 – Whose Face Would It Be?

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DayBreaks for 10/23/17: Whose Face Would it Be?

What do you think the future of Christianity is in the United States?  Or in the world, for that matter?  There have been some recognizable faces that the world has come to know as “Christians”.  Among those who come readily to mind are Mother Theresa and, of course, Billy Graham.  There are others, too, but many of the “old guard” of the faith have been, or are close, to departing this world for their eternal reward. 

The question has been asked of me: if you had to think of someone who is a Christian that you could point to that is respected by everyone, who is a living witness to the Christian faith, who would it be?  For me, the answer was fairly quick: Billy Graham would be my first choice.  He seems to have managed throughout all these years, to keep himself “unspotted from the world.” 

But, Billy Graham is old and certainly the time for his own departure is near.  Then who, like Elisha taking up the mantle of Elijah, will be the “face” of Christianity in the world?  It’s not an easy question to answer, but I was struck by this brief comment from the Opinion Journal (Wall Street Journal Online), 10/8/07, by James Taranto, about some statements made by an avowed atheist who was chastising Christians for their unwillingness to engage in public “dialogue”.  The first paragraph is taken from Ms. Lalli’s statement, and the second paragraph is Mr. Taranto’s musings on what she said:

Ms. Lalli: I have a question for the Christians out there: If you could pick one living person to be the face of the entire Christian faith, who would that person be?  Even if you could pick three, or even five people, it would still be a challenge.  I imagine it would be hard to figure out whether you wanted to pick those Christians who think most like you, or if you would pick people who could better represent the many colors of Christianity, the subtle differences and big-picture similarities.

Taranto: We lived in Brooklyn for a time in the early 1990s.  Back then, at least, there were Christians there, and it seems unlikely that all of them have left.  Lalli should see if she can find one so that she can ask her question directly.  We’re pretty sure the answer will be Christ.  OpinionJournal, 10/8/07, James Taranto

Can there be a better ambassador for Christianity than Christ?  Certainly, the answer to that is and unequivocal, “No!”  He is by far the best example of Christianity that there ever will be.

Still, I’m forced to ponder the question: if not Billy Graham, who?  And why should we automatically assume that all believers couldn’t be effective ambassadors – that you who read this, and I who write it, can’t be equally as strong of “advertisements” for what a real Christian is like?  After all, isn’t that what we’re ALL called to be and to do?

PRAYER:  Lord, we know that within us dwells no good thing – except for Jesus.  Help us to be better illustrations of the truth of Christianity, of the life of Christ, than we have been in the past.  May we all resolve to live as if the world depended on our resemblance to Jesus.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 09/11/12 – Get the Sequence Right

DayBreaks for 09/11/12 – Get the Sequence Right

Sequence is important…

Mark 7:32-35 (NIV) – There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man. 33  After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34  He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”). 35  At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

There are certain sequences in life that are unavoidable.  Life comes before death.  Childhood comes before adolescence and adulthood.  Being a child comes before having children.  Being a parent comes before one becomes a grandparent.

In the text from Mark 7, there is another sequence that we would do well to consider, understand, and incorporate into our lives.  The man was deaf, and could barely speak, when he came to Jesus.  Notice how Jesus approaches the situation:

FIRST, he puts his fingers into the man’s ears,

SECOND, he touches the man’s tongue.

Children hear before they learn to speak.  If we can’t hear, we will not likely be able to learn to speak, because we speak by imitating the sounds we hear: “momma”, “daddy”, “dog”, “cat”, and the like. We imitate those sounds before we can read them.  We must first hear.  Once we hear, then we can speak.

It is especially important for Christians to hear what Jesus has to say before we attempt to speak for him, or in his place.  Yes, we are to be his ambassadors and that means we speak what he has instructed us to say, but if we haven’t heard from him, we should keep our mouths shut!  We should not be offering, “The Bible says X, Y, and Z, but here’s what I think…”.

The first step in communicating is to listen…then to speak.  Let’s get the sequence right!

PRAYER: We are too prone to quick to speak on your behalf before we have heard from You!  Teach us discipline, give us patience, to wait to hear your voice before we open our mouths!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 07/26/12 – You Are Unable

DayBreaks for 07/26/12 – You Are Unable

One of His ambassadors…

 “You teach,” said the Emperor Trajan to Rabbi Joshua, “that your God is everywhere, and boast that He resides among your nation; I should like to see Him.”

“God’s presence is indeed everywhere,” replied Joshua, “but He cannot be seen. No mortal eye can behold His glory.”

The Emperor insisted. “Well,” said Joshua “suppose we try to look first at one of His ambassadors.” The Emperor consented.

The Rabbi took him into the open air at noonday and bade him look at the sun in its blazing splendor. “I cannot,” said Trajan. “The light dazzles me.”

“You are unable,” said Joshua, “to endure the light of one of His creatures, and can you expect to behold the resplendent glory of the Creator? Would not the brightness of His glory annihilate you?”

This same thought is expressed in the Bible in 1 Timothy 6:16, Who only hath immortality, dwelling in light unapproachable; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power eternal.

We often sing songs about seeing Jesus and the bliss that will be.  I don’t doubt for a second that it will be the greatest moment of our lives.  He will be glorious.  We will be amazed.  We will be dazzled.  It is what we have waited for for so long!

If someone, though, were to say to a skeptic or doubter, “Suppose we try to look first at one of His ambassadors,” would what would the skeptic think if they brought him/her to see me?  Are we not his ambassadors, too?  We may not be luminous as the sun in its glory, but we are to represent Him.  How are we doing?

PRAYER: Let our lives be a testimony to your greatness, your glory, your majesty – to all who wish to see You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the email.