DayBreaks for 2/23/16 – Lead Us to Calvary

DayBreaks for 2/23/16: Lead Us to Calvary

Galen is traveling. Today’s message is from the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

There is a wonderful old hymn, “Lead Me to Calvary.”  Three of the verses go like this:

King of my life I crown Thee now, Thine shall the glory be

Lest I forget Thy thorn-crowned brow, Lead me to Calvary.

Lest I forget Gethsemane, Lest I forget Thine agony,

Lest I forget Thy love for me, Lead me to Calvary.

Show me the tomb where Thou was laid, Tenderly mourned and wept;

Angels in robes of light arrayed, Guarded Thee whilst Thou slept.

Lest I forget Gethsemane, Lest I forget Thine agony,

Lest I forget Thy love for me, Lead me to Calvary.

May I be willing, Lord to bear daily my cross for Thee;

Even thy cup of grief to share, Thou has borne all for me.

Lest I forget Gethsemane, Lest I forget Thine agony,

Lest I forget Thy love for me, Lead me to Calvary.

“Lead us to Calvary.  There are two ways to go there.  One way is to go as spectators, there for the show, not acknowledging our complicity in any way.  The other way is to go as penitent sinners, knowing our need for Christ even as we acknowledge our acquiescence in his death.” – Fleming Rutledge, The Undoing of Death

How long has it been since you’ve gone to Calvary – not as a spectator, but as a penitent?  What is there today that you need to repent of?  What will you nail to the cross today?

TODAY’S PRAYER:  Jesus, we have much to repent of.  Already today, we’ve been impatient, anxious, envious, perhaps angry, lustful and bitter.  Don’t let those things live in our hearts, Lord.  Lead us ever so gently to your cross that we may fall on our knees in humility and repentance.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

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DayBreaks for 3/17/15 – The Great Unfairness

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DayBreaks for 3/17/15: The Great Unfairness

 

From the DayBreaks Archive, 3/17/2005:

News flash: the world isn’t fair.  Well, I guess you probably already knew that, right?  If you’re a parent, you’ve probably said that to one of your kids at least once.  Kids are great for pointing out that the world isn’t fair, but their problem is that they think the world should be fair, and that they should not ever be on the short end of any stick.  That’s rather humorous in a way, because if the world was never unfair, there’d never be a short end of the stick anyway! 

In his book, Disappointment with God, Philip Yancey wrote about Henri Nouwen and a family he knew in Paraguay.  The father, a doctor, spoke out against the military regime there and its human rights abuses.  Local police took their revenge on him by arresting his teenage son and torturing him to death.  Enraged townsfolk wanted to turn the boy’s funeral into a huge protest march, but the doctor chose another means of protest.  At the funeral, the father displayed his son’s body as he had found it in the jail – naked, scarred from the electric shocks and cigarette burns and beatings.  All the villagers filed past the corpse, which lay not in a coffin but on the blood-soaked mattress from the prison.  It was the strongest protest imaginable, for it put injustice on grotesque display. 

“Isn’t that what God did at Calvary?  ‘It’s God who ought to suffer, not you and me,’ say those who bear a grudge against God for the unfairness of life.  The curse word expresses it well: God be damned.  And on that day, God was damned.  The cross that held Jesus’ body, naked and market with scars, exposed all the violence and injustice of this world.  At once, the Cross revealed what kind of world we have and what kind of God we have: a world of gross unfairness, a God of sacrificial love.”

If there is anything that can redeem gross unfairness, it is an act of sacrificial love, that gives to those who have been unfairly treated a blessing far beyond anything they could have imagined for themselves.  Was the cross fair?  Was it fair that it was God on the cross, dying as the Innocent One on behalf of all those who are guilty?  No.  It was the most unfair thing in the history of the universe.  But it happened.  And the great unfairness has been swallowed up in the immense love and compassion of God.

Ps. 117:2 – For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.  Praise the LORD.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for loving us more than being concerned about fairness!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 07/22/13 – What God Would Become

DayBreaks for 07/22/13 – What God Would Become

Type = ArtScans RGB : Gamma = 1.882From the DayBreaks archive, 7/4/2003:

Matthew 20:17-19 – “17 Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, 18 “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” (NIV)

If you had lived before Christ came, what would you have expected the Messiah to be like?  While we may sometimes belittle the Jews for their rejection of the Messiah, I doubt that if we had lived before Jesus that we would have recognized and understood what he would be like, either.  After all, how could anyone really understand what God would be like when He came to earth?  As far as most people were concerned, it had never happened before – or if it did, it was through the medium of a theophany, or disguised as traveler.

In his challenging book, The Crucified God, Jurgen Moltmann captured well what God would not become, and what He would become, when he wrote: “The suffering in the passion of Jesus is abandonment, rejection by God, his Father.  God does not become a religion, so that man participates in him by corresponding religious thoughts and feelings.  God does not become a law, so that man participates in him through obedience to a law.  God does not become an ideal, so that man achieves community with him through constant striving.  He humbles himself and takes upon himself the eternal death of the godless and the Godforsaken, so that all the godless and the godforsaken can experience communion with him.” 

God isn’t a religion, a law, or some ideal of a Pie-in-the-Sky Deliverer.  There were those who expected him to come in those ways.  He didn’t.  When He came, He was so lowly, so humble and humiliated that no one recognized Him.  And it remains that way today.  The humiliation of God in Christ was and is beyond all comprehension.  No one would have guessed that the Creator would have stooped so low.  Yet He did – for one reason: so that we could communicate with Him in the deepest and darkest experiences of the human night and He would understand.

PRAYER: As we journey through this life, Lord, at times we want you to be many things to us and for us.  Try as we might, we cannot comprehend the immensity of what you did for us on the cross.  All we can do is thank you!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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