DayBreaks for 11/21/16 – The Miracle of the Cross

DayBreaks for 11/21/16: The Miracle of the Cross

The Archbishop of Paris once stood in the pulpit of Notre Dame Cathedral. He was there to preach a sermon, and his sermon was built around a single story. Thirty years earlier, he told, there were three young tourists who had come into this very cathedral. All of the young men were rough, rude, and cynical persons, who thought that all religion was a racket. Two of these men dared a third to go into the confessional box and make a made-up confession to the priest. The two bet that the third young man did not have the nerve to do as they dared.

The third young man went into the confessional box and tried to fool the priest. But the priest knew that what the young man was saying was a lie. There was a tone of arrogance in the young man’s voice – which could not go without notice. After hearing the confession, the priest told the young man his penance. The priest said, “Very well, my son. Every confession requires a penance, and this is yours. I ask you to go into the chapel, stand before the crucifix, look into the face of the crucified Christ and say, ‘All this you did for me, and I don’t give a damn!’ “

The young man staggered out of the confessional to his friends, bragging that he had done as they dared. The other two young men insisted that he finish the performance by doing the penance. This young man made his way into the chapel, stood before the crucifix, looked up into the face of Christ and began, “All this you did for me and I … I … I don’t … I don’t give a ….” At this point in the story, the archbishop leaned over the pulpit and said, “That young man was this man who stands before you to preach.”

That’s the miracle of the cross. When we begin to understand the love on the cross, we want to change our relationship with God. We cannot remain the same.

PRAYER: God, may the miracle of the cross speak to us and change us forever!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple.  All rights reserved.

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DayBreaks for 05/27/13 – A Myth of Incalculable Harm

DayBreaks for 05/27/13 – A Myth of Incalculable Harm

thewhiterobeNOTE: I am back but weary!  New DayBreaks will resume no later than the first week of June, 2013!  Thanks for your prayers while I was away!!!

There is a myth flourishing in the church today that has caused incalculable harm – once converted, fully converted.  In other words, once I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior, an irreversible, sinless future beckons.  Discipleship will be an untarnished success story, life will be an unbroken upward spiral toward holiness.  Tell that to poor Peter who, after three times professing his love for Jesus on the beach and after receiving the fullness of the Spirit at Pentecost, was still jealous of Paul’s apostolic success.

We want ever-sharp spirituality (push-pull, click-click – one saint that quick) and attempt to cultivate a particular virtue at a given point in time.  Prudence in January, humility in February, fortitude in March, temperance in April.  Score cards are provided for toting up gains and losses.  The losses should diminish if you expect to meet charity in May.  Sometimes May never comes.  For many Christians, life is a long January.

“Because salvation is by grace through faith, I believe that among the countless number of people standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands (Rev. 7:9), I shall see…the woman who had an abortion and is haunted by guilt and remorse but did the best she could faced with grueling alternatives; the businessman besieged with debt who sold his integrity in a series of desperate transaction…the deathbed convert who for decades had his cake and ate it, broke every law of God and man…

“But how?” we ask.  Then the voice says, “They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

“There they are.  There WE are – the multitude who so wanted to be faithful, who at times got defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of life’s tribulations, but through it all clung to the faith.

“My friends, if this is not good news to you, you have never understood the gospel of grace.”  – Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

Have you known someone who has bought into this destructive myth?  It may have been toward themselves – they become a Christian but immediately get discouraged as they find that their old temptations are waiting for them as they walk out the church building door.  Or, it may be evident in the attitude of a so-called “mature” Christian and their lack of mercy and patience with other Christians – be they new believers or old.  They might be tempted to say: “You should be farther along in your Christian walk by now.  What’s wrong with you?”

Revelation 7:9 – “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

May God keep us all from judgmental attitudes and a lack of patience with one another.  God will complete His work with us in HIS time and on HIS timetable.

Copyright 2002 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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