DayBreaks for 8/05/19 – God and Circumstances

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DayBreaks for 08/05/19: God and Circumstances

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2019:

I can’t help but think of Joseph when I think of circumstances.  It wasn’t his fault his father favored him.  It wasn’t his fault his father made him a special coat.  It wasn’t his fault God sent him the dreams that seemed to be the icing on the cake as far as his brothers’ hatred of him was concerned.  It wasn’t his fault he was thrown into the pit.  It wasn’t his fault the Midianite traders came and bought him.  It wasn’t his fault he got bounced out of Potiphar’s house.  It wasn’t his fault he was in jail and overlooked and forgotten.  It wasn’t his fault the plagues descended on Egypt.  None of those things were his fault, but they were all part of the circumstances of his life.

I know plenty of people who get frustrated with the circumstances in which they find themselves, and from time to time, I am among their number.  And like many of my Christian friends who find themselves in unpleasant circumstances, I will pray and ask God to change the situation.  You know what?  As far as I can tell (and my perception is as limited as yours), God seldom seems to change those circumstances.  Need some money to pay bills?  Pray about it…and see if a check shows up in the mail.  My experience has been that it seldom happens.  Need a change in health?  Pray about it.  It may or may not come to pass.  Praying for someone to continue living instead of dying?  If we all prayed about that until we were blue in the face, eventually that person will die – no matter how hard we might have prayed in the intervening time period. 

I am reminded of another who prayed for a change of circumstances.  He knelt down in a garden and pleaded with God to change the circumstances in which he found himself.  And, either God didn’t answer, or the Bible doesn’t record it.  Or, perhaps, there is a third option: God did answer with a “No” and Jesus was prepared to accept that answer. 

I fear that all too often I’m not prepared to accept God’s “no” to my request to change circumstances.  The result in Joseph’s life was the saving of the promised people – the very preservation of their lives through the famine.  It was also to build character in Joseph’s life.  Moses was no different – he often complained to God about the circumstances in which he found himself along with the rest of Israel.  He grew as a result. 

Why should we be prepared to accept God’s “no” when we request a change in circumstances in our lives?  Because God has a plan.  He always has a purpose.  We seldom see it – not even in hindsight – but if we are to trust God with our souls should we not also trust Him with what He is doing in our earthly lives? 

I am not denying the power of prayer – not for one bit.  Just wrestling with the all-too-frequent “no’s” and why they come.  There is a purpose.  Was there a purpose in God’s denying His own Son’s request from the dirt of Gethsemane?  Most certainly!  And there is a purpose for the times God refuses to change my circumstances, too.  If God didn’t change Jesus’ circumstances, He may choose in His divine wisdom not to change mine, either.  Better I should learn my lessons quickly!

Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.  – Philippians 1:12-14 (NASB)

PRAYER:  I’m sorry, Lord, for the times I have grown frustrated and angry with You for not changing my circumstances.  Please, use the circumstances in my life to make me more like Jesus so that the gospel can move forward and progress.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 4/26/17 – God and Circumstances

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DayBreaks for 4/26/19: God and Circumstances

From the DayBreaks archives, April 2009:

Suffering is a very hard taskmaster.  It’s not easy to predict what the outcome of suffering will be.  Some suffer and conclude that God is not, and cannot, be good – nor does He care or suffering would not take place.  Strangely and remarkably, it seems that often those who really do suffer the most are the first ones to sing songs of praise to God and His love. 

Just today, I read an email from an organization in our fair town that is involved in conducting and coordinating community events.  Here’s what it had to say: “It has been awhile since we have communicated with everyone and it seems that each day that goes by, the world continues to evolve in ways that many of us never imagined. As this is not an excuse for our lack of recent communication, it has however caused all of us to look deeper into ourselves, push ourselves harder than many of us are used to and simply try and survive.

I understand that there are people in pain in our community (and in yours) and that pain is real and people are afraid and in some cases, suffering.  So, please don’t get mad at me when I say that I think this statement was a gross exaggeration.  Most (not all) Americans have no idea what it means to “simply try to survive.”  American grocery stores are full of food, there are safety net programs that help feed the hungry and shelter the homeless.  Yes, they are being stressed to higher levels than ever before, but they still exist.  Such things don’t exist in most of the world.  As a general rule, we are far from “simply try(ing) to survive.”

Yet circumstances often dictate our attitudes and our devotion to God.  How quickly we are swayed and surrender our trust in Him!  Consider again the list of spiritual heroes in Hebrews chapter 11: now there is a list of people who truly were simply trying to survive…and many of them didn’t, dying as martyrs.  What characterized those who had their names place in the roll of honor of the faithful?  Simply this: they refused to let God be defined by their own circumstances and experiences.  They understood that God was above and beyond all circumstance, and that His character is never, ever defined by human experience nor circumstances. 

No matter whether your circumstances and present experience is good or bad, God doesn’t change with circumstances.  If He ever has been good, it is a fact that He will always be good.  Sometimes, I think, God controls circumstances, but more often than not, He’s interested in controlling and directing outcomes.  It’s what we do with the circumstances that He’s most interested in.  What will you do with your circumstances today?

Prayer: God, forgive us when we treat you as if you are fickle and a changeling rather than the Rock who never changes and who is always good.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/24/15 – Unbearable Circumstances

DayBreaks for 8/24/15: Unbearable Circumstances

The astrologers replied to the king, “No one on earth can tell the king his dream! And no king, however great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician, enchanter, or astrologer! The king’s demand is impossible. No one except the gods can tell you your dream, and they do not live here among people.” The king was furious when he heard this, and he ordered that all the wise men of Babylon be executed. And because of the king’s decree, men were sent to find and kill Daniel and his friends.Daniel 2:10-13 (NLT)

Have you ever had a dream that really troubled you? The greatest king of the ancient Babylonian empire did…more than once. After the first dream, the king sought an explanation for the dream…but he wasn’t willing to tell his dream to anyone. His advisors had to not only explain the dream, but to tell the king what the dream was! Impossible? Humanly speaking, it was. The great king was incensed and decreed the death of all the wise men.

You know the rest of the story – how Daniel prayed and God revealed all that was hidden, and by telling the dream and its meaning, the lives of the wise men was spared.

It is easy to miss the point: Daniel and his friends were under a death sentence. Was what the king asked fair? Of course not. But it was the king’s prerogative. And Daniel and his friends found themselves in a situation that was blatantly unfair and unjust. Daniel and his friends who were to be executed had done nothing to deserve this death sentence. Something horrible had happened and Daniel had no idea how it would end.

If you’ve drawn more than one breath on this earth, you know how that feels – the sense of impending doom and despair. How do you react when faced with circumstances that do not seem at all fair? Do you rant and rave and belly-ache about it? Do you scream and yes and tell everyone how miserable you are and how unfair it all is?

What was God doing in this situation? Was God seeking to glorify Daniel? No. He was seeking to bend the will of a pagan king to acknowledge that the God of heaven is the King of kings and that He alone is the Supreme One.

Rather than moaning and groaning in such circumstance, what if we took a different approach and asked ourselves this question: What if God is using this event in my life to showcase His Sovereignty? How might your response differ? Bear in mind the things you know of God: He is kind, He is loving, He is gracious and full of mercy, He cannot do wrong or make mistakes, He only does what glorifies Himself and is best for His children. It may not make the circumstance any less hard, but it may make it bearable knowing that He is good and that He loves you.

PRAYER: Father, even when we feel things are unfair and that what has happened to us is unfair, let us seek You glory above all else! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 03/09/12 – Circumstances, Obedience and Happiness

DayBreaks for 03/09/12 – Circumstance, Obedience and Happiness

The truth about our circumstances, obedience, and happiness...

There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!” 7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. 8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:6-8

Humanity has long been caught up in trying to find happiness.  Our track record isn’t very good.

We think our problem is the circumstances in which we find ourselves.  We don’t like what’s going on around us, what’s happening to us, we cry about how unfair it is (and that may be true), we hate being powerless in the face of seemingly overpowering circumstances.

So, what do we do?  We try to change our circumstances.  We get into rebellion mode.  If we are children and don’t like that we have to do what mom and dad say, what do we do?  We get out of the house or out of their sight and do want we want, not what they told us to do.  We disobey.  Why?  Because we think that our happiness will be found, or at the very least, increased by disobedience.  We see the “forbidden fruit” and think that if only we can have it, we will be happy – if even for a little while.  So, like Eve and Adam, we reach out (in disobedience), grasp it and take a bite, thinking that it will increase our happiness.  I wonder how long Eve and Adam felt better about what they did?  I’d be willing to bet that the feelings of guilt set in within the first second.  And things didn’t get any better after that…they go worse.  And yet, we persist in the notion that disobedience is the pathway that leads to happiness.  It does not.

As Randy Pope said a couple weeks ago: “Circumstances to no determine the happiness of the heart.”  He was talking about how believers are oppressed.  When it gets difficult, what is our temptation?  To disobey, thinking we’ll be happier without the suffering that obedience may bring.  He noted that we signed up for following a suffering Christ.  He concluded by saying, “Happiness is always found inside obedience.  It is not found in disobedience.”  He’s right.

Maybe you’ve been searching for happiness in the wrong ways.  Maybe I have, too.  Maybe instead of disobedience, we should try obedience.  Instead of grabbing the forbidden fruit, we should pull our hand back and say, “Lord, you are all I need.  In obedience to You I will find delight and joy and happiness enough for ten million lifetimes!”

PRAYER: Grace – O Lord, how sweet the sound!!!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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