DayBreaks for 12/27/18 – An Everyday Mystery

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DayBreaks for 12/27/18: An Everyday Mystery

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

Choosing.  How difficult it is, and yet how often we do it!  How many decisions have you made already today?  You decided whether or not to get up when the alarm went off, or to hit snooze a time or two.  You decided what you would wear.  You decided what you would eat, or if you would eat, for breakfast.  You decided (whether you thought about it or not) on the route you’d drive to work, school or wherever you were going.  You decided where to park, how fast you’d drive, whether or not to pass or honk at someone who irritated you.  You decided what you’d listen to on the radio.  You decided what to read in the paper.  You decided if you’d take your lunch or buy it.  Chances are you’ve already made thousands of little decisions (many unconscious) already today – and your day is just getting started.

Someone has said that practice is what makes perfect.  We know, of course, that there’s a smidgen of truth in that sentiment – with practice we DO get better (hopefully!)  But we don’t get perfect through practice regardless of the old saying.  The only way we ever get perfect is by God changing us in eternity into Christ’s likeness.  We can make progress until then – but perfection?  No, definitely not.

But if we are to get better with practice, have you ever stopped to think about why it is that we so seldom choose what is best?  It’s nothing new to the 21st century, of course.  It’s been going on since the beginning of time, and humanistic thinking aside, we aren’t getting better at it throughout the millennia.  Adam and Eve were given an entire garden by God and told that they could eat of any tree in the garden – except one.  And which one did they choose?  The ONE.  Jonah had the choice of going to Ninevah or the other direction – so he high-tailed it away from Ninevah.  Saul/Paul could choose to persecute Christians or to let them be.  Judas could have not betrayed Jesus, be he did.  Perhaps you could have chosen to remain faithful to your spouse but you chose unfaithfulness instead.  Drugs, alcohol, greed, thievery, murder, lying – all spring from the well of choice.  See what I mean when I say we’re not getting better at it? 

I’m convinced that we don’t know how to choose wisely sometimes.  How can we possibly know in every circumstance what is the very best thing to do?  If you know the answer, please tell me!  Sure, I know we can pray and God can give us direction, but we still have to choose to go His way and not our own, or He may not give us an answer when we are seeking it. 

So what are we to do?  Maybe all we can hope for in those cases where we’re not sure what is best is to choose what is better.  Mary and Martha were hosting Jesus in their home, and Martha was all a-flutter with her busyness and serving until she got so ticked off at her sister that she even (by implication at least) berates Jesus and Mary – Mary for not helping, Jesus for not telling Mary to help Martha.  Jesus, ever gentle and wise, simply gives Mary a bit of praise: Mary has chosen what is better.  (Lk. 10:42) Notice what Jesus didn’t say: he didn’t say Mary had chosen what was best, but just better. 

What would have been best in that situation?  The Lord only knows, but he didn’t scold Mary for not choosing what was best but encouraged her in her choosing of what was simply “better”.  Maybe that’s why, in all our ways, we should acknowledge Him and let him direct our paths until we reach that which is best.

PRAYER: I’m so grateful, Lord, that you understand our limitations and don’t expect perfection from us.  Forgive us for our foolish choices and help us choose that which is better!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 08/15/13 – For Better Or Worse

DayBreaks for 08/15/13 – For Better or Worse

betterOrWorseFrom the DayBreaks Archive, dated 8/14/2003:

One of the promises that most of us made during our wedding vows was to love our beloved “for better or worse”.  This implies a simple recognition of the truth that life isn’t a bed of roses – but that those roses often have thorns attached, and even if the rose itself doesn’t have thorns, someone or something is bound to cause pain at some point or another in our worldly sojourn.  There is a “better” and there is a “worse”.  Life has taught us all that simple lesson. 

Romans 9:22-24 indicates that same principle – In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who were made for destruction. 23  He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory. 24  And we are among those whom he selected, both from the Jews and from the Gentiles.   These verses indicate that there are two types of vessels: those which are objects of mercy and ultimate glory, and others which are only destined for destruction. 

In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis put it this way: “The higher a thing is, the lower it can descend…The better stuff a creature is made of – the cleverer and stronger and freer it is – then the better it will be if it goes right, but also the worse it will be if it goes wrong.  A cow cannot be very good or very bad; a dog can be either better and worse; a child better and worse still; an ordinary man, still more so; a man of genius, still more so; a superhuman spirit best – or worst – of all.” 

As humans, God has imbued us with tremendous power – power for either good or evil.  The more opportunity, the greater the blessings of opportunity, intellect, resources and skill that we have – the greater the good or evil that can be done by activity or inactivity.  The degradation of Hitler in the Third Reich and the Holocaust was horrible…but was it really that much worse than the inactivity of those who knew what was happening and who stood silently by and did nothing?  What if one particular man or woman had stood up and decried what Hitler was doing?  Could the tide of history have been changed?  Could the bloody river of abortion have been forestalled if more of us stood up and rose to be the “better” rather than sink to become the “worse”? 

You have the choice today – for better or worse – what you will do with your opportunities and giftedness.  What will you decide?

PRAYER: Lord, we want to be objects for glory, for the “better” and not the worse.  Give us wisdom to choose the right path!  In Your name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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