DayBreaks for 10/16/18 – God’s Scalpel

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DayBreaks for 10/16/18: God’s Scalpel

From the DayBreaks archive, 10/10/2008:

One of the books that has most profoundly touched my life was written by C. S. Lewis after the death of his wife, Joy. He had been a single man for nearly all of his life when he met Joy Davidson, an American, and fell in love. She died, tragically after just four years, of cancer. The book is titled, A Grief Observed, and I HIGHLY recommend it. It is at one and the same time one of the most unnerving, yet triumphant messages of faith you’ll ever read. In it, Lewis grapples with death and his feelings towards himself, his dead wife, and his feelings towards God. He is brutally honest, and as time passes (the book was written over some period of time to capture the range of his emotions and thinking) he moves in his writing from great anger and bitterness towards God to where his faith in God’s goodness comes crashing to the forefront.

While in the midst of his anguish, he wrote these very insightful words describing the experience of pain in our lives: “The more we believe that God hurts only to heal, the less we can believe that there is any use in begging for tenderness. A cruel man might be bribed – might grow tired of his vile sport – might have a temporary fit of mercy, as alcoholics have fits of sobriety. But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless. But is it credible that such extremities of torture should be necessary for us? Well, take your choice. The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary. For no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren’t.” (I warned you he was brutally honest, didn’t I?!)

Personally, I don’t believe the Bible teaches that the pain and suffering we experience in this world is God-inflicted. I believe it is a result of the struggle between good and evil, God and the powers of darkness, and sometimes it comes about as a direct consequence of sin in our own life. God wants to overcome all the pain and suffering, and He someday will, when the last enemy is defeated (1 Cor. 15:23-26). Until then, God uses even painful things in our lives to make us whole. And if He stopped before the process was complete, we’d never be well.

Can you trust God with the pain in your life? You can. Can you survive the anguish you may face? I believe you can, though I’ve not walked in your shoes. Because through them, as well as through the joys of life, God is only doing what 2 Cor. 3:18 says: “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

PRAYER: Jesus, we plead with you to be as tender with us as possible – but to do the work that must be done in us. In Your name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 7/18/18 – Ever Increasing Glory

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DayBreaks for 7/18/18: Ever Increasing Glory

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:

There is a fascinating verse in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, in chapter 3, verse 18: And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.  Today I want to share another thought that struck me as I meditated on this verse and my uncle Dale’s homecoming. 

First, as I wrote yesterday, Paul notes that it is our unveiled faces that reflect the Lord’s glory.  We were created and made in the image of God.  Jesus, you recall, was the exact image of the Father according to Paul’s writing to the Colossians.  As humans, our true faces, the true “us”, is veiled.  It is hidden from sight, and therefore, we struggle to reflect the Lord’s glory.  But when we, like Dale, have passed from this vale of shadows, casting aside the flesh that has veiled the Lord’s glory for our lifetimes, our faces will reflect the Lord’s glory more perfectly than ever before. 

But, Paul goes on and notes that this is an ongoing process: “we are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory”.  I used to think that the process was more-or-less finished when we died.  But Paul says, “ever-increasing glory” to describe our future.  If Jesus is the perfect image of God, and God is infinite, it stands to reason that we will never reach the perfect image of His likeness, for then we would have to become infinite, too.  And so, I believe that possibly this is why Paul wrote, “ever increasing glory”.  For all eternity we will grow more and more like Jesus – reflecting his glory more perfectly with every trillion years that pass.  The end result?  “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”  1 Jn. 3:2  “We shall be like him.” It doesn’t say we’ll be identical to him – but “like’ him, but our glory, unlike his, will be ever increasing. His can’t increase, for it is infinite already! 

Dale has become like him already, Dale has seen him, Dale has been held by him, Dale has joined the eternal song of the Lamb.  And he awaits us there.  We’d do well to remember C.S. Lewis who said that we’ve never met mere mortals.  Everyone we meet has an eternal destiny.  And each one we see, whether in Louisiana, Oregon, Iowa, California, India or Iraq, has a spirit that needs what God alone can give. Lewis’ said that if we could see one another as God sees us, we’d be tempted to fall down and worship at the feet of those who are headed to glory.  Dale has experience that glory, and I believe if we were to see him now, we’d be speechless.

PRAYER:  We can’t begin to comprehend the eternity that You have planned for us, Jesus.  How exciting it is to think that we will grow more and more into Your image throughout all eternity!  Let that process start in us now, as we await what we will become through Your tender kindness!   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 11/02/15 – You Cannot Want Wrong Things Any More

DayBreaks for 11/02/15: You Cannot Want Wrong Things Any More

Col. 2:20 (NLT) – You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the evil powers of this world.

Rom. 6:2-4 (NLT) – Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we became Christians and were baptized to become one with Christ Jesus, we died with him? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

How easy it is to read Romans 6:2-4.  How hard it is to live it. 

The struggle to overcome sin is alive and well in my life, and I’d be willing to bet that it is in your life, too.  Maybe it isn’t – maybe I’m only saying that to make myself feel better – you know, “Misery loves company.”  But, if any of you write to me and tell me that you don’t sin anymore, I’ll be highly suspicious of you from that point onward. 

Entire sermon series could be preached about this passage alone from Romans.  How have we died to sin?  In what way?  What does it mean that we’re dead to it?  If we have died (past tense) to it, why is it still so alive in my heart?  Have I done something wrong?  Has my acceptance of Christ been incomplete in some way that is keeping the old man alive with its sinful nature?  See what I mean…?

There is a scene in C.S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair where Aslan and the children find Caspian lying dead in a stream on the Mountain.  Aslan’s blood (a single drop) is enough to bring Caspian back to life, and when he comes back to life as a young man again, he finds that he has arrived at the place that his heart most longed for when he was alive before.  He asks Aslan a simple, yet honest question: would it be okay for him to have a peek of Jill and Eustice’s world?  Aslan replies, “You cannot want wrong things any more, now that you have died, my son.”

Oh, how I wish that were true of me and my walk with Christ!  I wish that I never wanted wrong things again!  But I do.  And sometimes, I fear that I always will.  But there is where the statement of Aslan (the Christ-figure in Lewis’ books) really comforts me: once I have died (in every way possible) I will someday no longer desire bad and evil things.  I can’t imagine it fully now, but I can say “What a day that’ll be!”

In The Silver Chair, Aslan nonetheless grants Caspian’s wish and gives him the glimpse of the place his heart had longed for.  And He will do the same for me – I will see the streets of gold and the great white throne and even the One who sits upon it.  And I shall then be content, for once we see Him, we’ll finally know how much better He is than anything our sinful hearts ever longed for, and all longing for anything but Him will cease.

TODAY’S PRAYER: Lord, how we long to see You and Your home once we are released from our human flesh!  How we are grieved by our wrong desires for the things of this world.  Help us, Lord, to be more grieved than we are about how our old desires remain strong.  Forgive us for wanting the wrong things.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/03/14 – It’s How It Ends

DayBreaks for 10/03/14 – It’s How It Ends

I doubt that there is a believer alive who is not concerned about the eternal destiny of some close friend or relative. I don’t think that we should ever be apologetic about that.  It is right that we are concerned about them.  Love is a powerful motivator and it can lead us to share Christ with those we love and by so doing eternity can be changed! But it sure can be painful and cause many sleepless nights.

The great wit, C. S. Lewis, started out a doubter. He saw British Christianity as a pale and bloodless business. It did not excite him. In fact, to his reasoned, calculating way of thinking, Christianity made very little sense. It smelled of superstition and made promises about the future he was sure it could not make good on.

But C. S. Lewis came to see that he was missing something. He began to slide into a cynicism about life that frightened him. He wanted something to believe in. Someone who was on the Christian pilgrimage helped him to see that there was room for him in the parade. Not suddenly, but rather quietly, un-spectacularly, Lewis came into the Christian camp. We know the rest of the story: He became a great intellectual apologist for Christianity, writing and speaking to confound the critics of the Faith. He was the reverse of Ralph Vaughan Williams, taking on the critics of the Christian faith in Britain in a series of radio broadcasts which became enormously popular among a population growing steadily more indifferent to Christ.

A similar story can be told of Malcolm Muggeridge, a British thinker who in later life came to see that the Christian faith made far more sense to him than clinging to agnosticism. He, like Lewis, became an apologist for Christianity. He said “yes” to the invitation, after he first had said “no.”

It isn’t how the journey starts that counts. It’s how it ends that matters. The distance between those two points is one that no human can predict. The heartfelt agony of watching a loved one who once knew and professed faith but who appears to have rejected it is incredibly painful. In the middle of their journey (and ours!) let us not lose heart. God loves to swoop in at the last moment and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat – some might even say it is His specialty. If there is a way into the heart of your loved one, God can find it.

As a movie put it: “Everything will be okay in the end, and if it’s not okay yet, then it isn’t the end.” Hang on to your prayers. Hang on to your faith that God can, and will, do something incredible in response to those prayers. Though the road may be very hard and difficult, though a life may be horribly misspent, it isn’t over until it is over. Never give up on anyone! Just ask the thief on the cross! 

PRAYER: Lord, we all have those we love who either have wandered from You or who don’t know You at all yet. Hear our pleas for their souls! Precious Father, You created them and love them more than we do and You want them to be saved even more than we do! Melt the hearts of stone that the Light may win the day in the end!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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