DayBreaks for 3/13/19 – It’s the Truth

Image result for devil and angel on shoulder

DayBreaks for 3/13/19: It’s the Truth

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  – Matthew 9:9-13 (NIV)

I recently received an email from a believer in which this person was a bit despairing about their Christ-walk.  On the one hand, I find that encouraging.  It says that the Spirit is still speaking to them – and that they are listening.  It is important that we listen to the Spirit and His take on our walk.  But, I have found in my own experience that the enemy can also attempt to convince me that because I’m not walking as close to Christ as I should and because that’s been true of nearly all my life, that I should just give up now and stop trying.  After all, if I stop trying, I’ll stop feeling guilty, right?  I’ll lose my shame, right?  No…those things are emotions that are planted deep within us.  We would just be in denial.

Then, I was thinking about this passage in Matthew.  I love what Jesus says, For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.  Who, after all, would there have been for Jesus to call if he’d come to call the righteous?  No one!  His expectation for is that this: we are sinners.  We will be sinners until the day we die.  We will always be sinners as long as we breathe the atmosphere of this world.  He knows it, he expects it and isn’t shocked by it.  If you are a sinner, Jesus came to call you…and He calls you still, day in and day out through the loving voice of the Spirit.  The Spirit will never encourage you to give up your faith walk.  Only the enemy will do that.  The Spirit will point out to you and to me our need for greater righteousness, but He is a comforter, a friend, who encourages us to walk forward into greater holiness and obedience. 

So, if you’re feeling down about your sinfulness and poor Christian walk, determine if you’re hearing from the enemy who wants to defeat you in your walk with Christ because you are a sinner, or the Spirit who wants to encourage you in your walk with Christ even though you are a sinner.  There’s a world of difference…and that’s the truth.

Prayer:  What a comfort it is to know, Lord, that you know we’re sinners and you came for us and you come to us over and over through your Spirit to encourage us and lead us into greater obedience, love and holiness.  Give us the wisdom to discern the voice of the Spirit and to distinguish it from the voice of Satan!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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DayBreaks for 7/05/17 – Caleb and Courageous Conviction, #3

Hill country, Israel. 

DayBreaks for 7/05/17: Caleb and Courageous Conviction, #3

When I was young, I could run and run and run and seemingly never tire. So, for the most part, I ran longer races when I ran track in high school. And I was fairly good at it – though I knew it was not something I’d ever do as a living or career. Then, seemingly almost overnight, I didn’t enjoy the endurance races any longer. I don’t know why, but they just weren’t fun any longer.

Endurance is a hard quality to cultivate. As we get older, our endurance seems to get less and less physically. That is to be expected, I believe, as our bodies start to show the strains of the decades.

Caleb way a man of courageous endurance. When he approaches Joshua with his request to be given the hill country for his inheritance in the Promised Land, he was 85 years old. He was around 40 when he went into the land as a spy, and around 80 when they returned and finally entered the land. Now, at 85 he stands before Joshua and says, in Joshua 14:10-12 (NLT) – Now, as you can see, the LORD has kept me alive and well as he promised for all these forty-five years since Moses made this promise—even while Israel wandered in the wilderness. Today I am eighty-five years old. I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then. So give me the hill country that the LORD promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the descendants of Anak living there in great, walled towns. But if the LORD is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the LORD said.” That, my friends, is a man of endurance and conviction!

What can we learn from Caleb about this? Several things, I believe:

FIRST: passion for the good needn’t diminish as we get older. While for most of  us our physical strength will decline, our spiritual strength should be growing stronger day by day as we have mounting evidence of the Lord’s faithfulness. Caleb hadn’t forgotten the promise of the Lord concerning the hill country. Now, at 85, he was ready to claim that promise.

SECOND: Caleb recognizes that the victory will be won, but that it won’t be won by his own unabated strength: it will be won if the Lord is with me. I don’t for a second believe that Caleb felt that “if” was up for debate. He knew he’d drive the residents of the hill country out just as the Lord said.

THIRD: though the pathway may be long and arduous, there is a reward at the end of a life for courageous conviction. Caleb trusted in the Word of the Lord. He had seen it come true over and over and over – and had never once seen it fail. In spite of having to endure 40 years of struggle in the desert, Caleb had not forgotten the promise. He had not deserved the desert – he had not been one of the faithless 10 spies. Yet he had to endure it, then he had to survive the battles to take the majority of the promised land. Endurance must have been his middle name.

FOURTH: as time grows shorter for each of us, we need to lay hold of the things that God has promised us. For Caleb, it was the hill country. For you and I, we, too, must press on to take possession of the Promised Land that the Lord has promised us. The promises that the Father has made to us are no different than the promises He made to Moses, Joshua or Caleb. The Father that was faithful and made those promises come true is the same Father who has given you His promise. It may have been many years in the coming, but it will come. Stay strong like Caleb. There are multitudes of blessings for a life of courageous endurance – not the least of which is a place in the Promised Land.

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for men and women like Caleb who show us that we need not grow faint or weary in our journey. Thank you for being faithful to your promises then and now. Let us rise up to take the hill country you have set before us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 7/03/17 – Caleb and Courageous Conviction, #1

The hill country of Israel.

DayBreaks for 7/03/17: Caleb and Courageous Conviction, #1

I heard an interesting sermon on Sunday about conviction, and I thought that some of the points were worth sharing, so there’ll be several DayBreaks about it this week.

First, a bit of background. You recall the story of the spies who were sent into the Promised Land to spy out the land. Twelve were sent – and twelve returned, but there were radically different reports given by two of the spies named Joshua and Caleb. We normally think of Joshua as having been the older because he became the leader, however in Joshua 14, we learn that Caleb was 40 years old at the time he went into the land to spy on the Canaanites. Most believe Joshua was perhaps 17-25 at the time, though we don’t know for sure.

What prompted Joshua and Caleb to come back with a different report? That’s a good question. There is a rabbinic tradition that says that one night while they spies were in the land, Caleb arose in the darkness and traveled to Hebron (where the giant descendants of Anak lived) and went into the cave where Abraham and the patriarchs were buried (Numbers 13 does say they went to Hebron.) While there at the cave, he had an encounter with the God of Abraham, Jacob and Joseph that filled him with the conviction about God’s promise to the patriarchs that the land of Palestine was to be theirs.

I don’t know about the veracity of that rabbinical legend, but something stirred Caleb’s heart with conviction. In Joshua 14 starting with verse six, Caleb, at this time a man of 85 and most likely the oldest man in Israel (since only Joshua and Caleb who were alive when Israel left Egypt survived the wilderness wandering)  approached Joshua. Because he was the oldest man in Israel, people would listen to him. And he reminds Joshua about what the Lord told Moses about Joshua and Caleb 40-45 years earlier. Basically, Caleb reminds Joshua about how Moses had promised him the land on which Caleb had just walked.

Here’s the point for today: Caleb came back from the spying mission ready to go to war and take possession of the land. If you read his report he is full of courageous conviction about the ability of Israel to take the land. But ten of the spies reported that the band of spies were like grasshoppers to the giants in Palestine.

Therein, you see, is the problem. They were convicted that the people of the land saw them as tiny, puny and weak. But, at various points in the story, we are told that the people of Palestine were shut up in their cities because of fear of the Israelites. The ten spies were convicted and convinced by what they believe the inhabitants of the land thought of them. Joshua and Caleb (and Caleb seems to be the spokesman for the two of the spies who brought back a favorable report) was convicted and convinced by what God had said and promised.

Maybe you need to think about what you believe about yourself. You may think that you are weak, insignificant, powerless, puny and tiny because someone in your past has mocked and ridiculed you to no end. You may have yielded to the whispering of Satan in your ear that you’re too small and weak and sinful to ever be strong and courageous.

Who are you going to listen to? What others (including Satan) have said about you, or to what God says about you when He calls you His child, His beloved, that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus? Where will your conviction come from?

PRAYER: God, I thank You for courageous people like Caleb who remembered Your promises in the face of 6:1 odds and who stood on the courage of his convictions about Your faithfulness. For all those who are being convicted by the words others may say about them, I pray that they will hear Your words of love and worth when they are under attack and that they will be convicted by what You say, and not what anyone else says. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 05/07/12 – A Mountain of Mercy

DayBreaks for 05/08/12 – A Mountain of Mercy

From the DayBreaks Archive: 5/07/02

On a recent Sunday as we were singing, I looked around the auditorium and spotted one of our teens.  She wasn’t singing.  It caught my attention because she is usually quite animated and energized by the worship and the music.  She looked troubled.  I watched her for a moment and soon found myself transported back a number of years to when I was her age.  I remembered how there were times at church when I, too, was quiet.  The reason: I was deeply troubled by some sin in my life.

I remember being deeply convicted by some sin in my life, a sin that haunted me, a sin that made me feel as if I couldn’t qualify for God’s forgiveness, that never again would I be able to run to Him and call Him “Father”.  And as the invitation was offered, I found myself (on many occasions) going forward, desperately seeking His forgiveness, a sense of cleansing and release from the guilt that I felt.  And inevitably, I found it.

As I think back now about those times of deep conviction, and as I looked at this young lady in our worship service (not knowing what was going on in her heart or life), I couldn’t help but feel that she was struggling with guilt much as I had done long ago.  In looking back at my life now, those were times of great value.  I was right: I could never qualify for God’s forgiveness by working at it harder, by being more righteous.  I could only claim His promise of love for me, of the forgiveness He extended to me through the blood of His Son.

But I find myself today in a different state of life in terms of my walk with Christ.  When I was young, I felt the weight of my sin very deeply.  Do I still feel it today?  Yes, but in a different way.  At that time in my life, I was focused on MY sin, on MY guilt, on MY despair and failure, on MY determination to try harder to try to prove myself worthy, to gain His favor.  Now, I’ve lived long enough to know that those early spiritual failures were just the beginning.  I’ve lived long enough now that I’ve committed a mountain of sins.  They are ugly and offensive to God.  They are   But there is a mountain of mercy that I’ve experienced as a result of understanding Romans 9:14-16 – “15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”  16 It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.

My standing before God is not based on anything I can do or say to gain his favor.  My standing is based on Christ’s sacrifice, and on God’s mercy.  My desire to serve Him can be as great as anyone’s desire to serve Him.  My effort can be huge – but that won’t earn me His mercy.  The mountain of His mercy looms over all my sin.

If there is a message I’d like to share with that young woman, it would be this: Yes, sin is awful and ugly.  But there is a mountain of mercy, a rock of refuge to Whom we can run.  He awaits us there!

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

PRAYER: Mercy!  What a beautiful word, Lord!  We thank you for your mercy, now and always! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

I Am 2 is now engaged in a project to provide temporary shelter, food, water and adult care to 37 orphans in Migori, Kenya.  We are trying to raise up an army of compassionate people who will each contribute whatever they can – even $5-10 each, to help us provide care for these children until our partner in the project, BrightPoint for Children, can secure sponsorships for these 37 kids.  If you want to contribute, follow this link and scroll down to find the “Donate” button: Help the 37 Migori Orphans

Thank you!  Your donations are tax deductible for 2012.  If you prefer to send a check rather than give through PayPal, write it and mail it to: I Am 2 Partners, Inc., c/o 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092.

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DayBreaks for 05/18/11 – The Power of Conviction

DayBreaks for 05/18/11 – The Power of Conviction

Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. – 2 Corinthians 5:11

Have you wondered why it seems so hard these days to win people to Christ?  Interestingly, nearly every poll conducted among Americans on the subject of God shows that 9 out of 10 believe He is real, that heaven is real (though fewer believe in hell).  Throughout the world, 32% claim to be Christians – however they define and determine that.  Among Christians, many deny the reality of Satan, and a shockingly high percentage deny that the Holy Spirit exists.  Stunning, isn’t it?  You’d think that if such a high percentage believe in God’s existence that more people would be believers in Jesus, too, but such is not the case.  Is it because we aren’t sharing the message, or is there some other cause?

Once, an archbishop approached the manager of the acting group and said, “Tell me, how is it that you actors hold the attention of your audience so vividly that you cause them to think of things imaginary as if they were real, while we of the church speak of things that are real but our congregations take them as imaginary?”

“The reason is plain,” the actor replied, “We actors speak of things imaginary as if they were real; while too many in the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imaginary.”

When Christians have decided to consciously disbelieve so much of what the Bible says about God, Jesus, the Spirit, heaven, hell, Satan, angels and demons, sin and judgment, could it just be that we’ve lost so much of our conviction for the reality of what the Word teaches that we can’t possibly convince others?

It was said of one famous old preacher, “He showed us the fires of hell, and then he swept our souls up to the gates of heaven.” When you talk about Christ, you have to believe in the transforming power of the gospel if you expect to convince anyone of its power to save.  How’s your conviction?

PRAYER: Forgive us for our lack of conviction, and for the perhaps subliminal message we may have bought in to that since we’re saved, that’s all we need to worry about!  Spirit, convict us again, that we may carry that conviction to the world!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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