DayBreaks for 1/25/17 – The Danger with Eternal Youth

DayBreaks for 1/25/17 – The Danger with Eternal Youth

From Doug Dalrymple’s blog, dated 1/5/07:

A life devoted to instant gratification produces permanent infantilization: ‘At sixty-four…tastes are what they were at seventeen.’ In our society, the telescoping of generations is already happening: the knowledge, tastes, and social accomplishments of thirteen-year-olds are often the same as those of twenty-eight-year-olds. Adolescents are precociously adult; adults are permanently adolescent.  –  Theodore Dalrymple, ‘The Dystopian Imagination’

In the first sentence above, Dalrymple is quoting Mustapha Mond, a character from Huxley’s Brave New World.  In the novel, Mond is an ‘Alpha’ and the resident World Controller for Western Europe.  As I recall, he keeps a forbidden Bible in a safe and is one of only two living people known to have read Shakespeare (‘John the Savage’ being the other).  As Dr. Dalrymple notes, Mustapha Mond might as well have made his observation of our own day.  Last September I wrote:

“Perhaps this is the natural progress of a culture that idolizes youth and sex, that devours its children and discards its elderly.  The generation gap disappears while, from their respective ends of the ladder, adults descend and children ascend toward a universal, middle state of fragile, uncertain adolescence.”

Perhaps.  But why this idolization of youth and sex, this devouring of children and discarding of elderly, in the first place?  The celebration of youth and strength is nothing new, nor is lechery, nor resentment toward those to whom we owe much.  Why should it be so difficult for westerners in particular to reconcile themselves to growing old?  Is it, as Theodore Dalrymple suggests, a “life devoted to instant gratification” that produces “permanent infantilization?”  I suspect that’s begging the question again.  Perhaps it’s simply that the bogeyman of Death looms larger and fiercer as the image of the reconciling Cross and the Empty Tomb fades in the cultural memory.  With a specter like Old Bones gaping at us in the foreground, and no savior to precede us, we’re inclined to flee, as best we’re able, in the opposite direction.
In any case, let’s not be too hard on our young people: it’s not easy to grow up these days.  Those of us fortunate enough to have known living examples of well-adjusted maturity and reconciled old-age have less excuse, of course.  But for those with video-gamer grandpas who divorce at 60 to pursue younger prospects, and plastic-surgeried grandmas who dress and talk like sixteen-year-olds, what can we really expect of them?  That’s the trouble with eternal youth.  –  D. Dalrymple, Scrivener blog, 1/5/07

Galen’s Thoughts: the Western culture in particular idolizes youth and decries any mention of old age – let alone death in advanced years.  It almost seems that our culture finds something shamefully distasteful about white hair and creaky bones and minds.  We live in denial of advancing years and approaching death, and we “flee…in the opposite direction.”  And the problem with eternal youth is that we never grow up, we never get wiser, just more and more foolish.  Would it not be better to honestly face the future that awaits us all – whether we reach old age or not?  Death is our next door neighbor throughout our entire lives, you know.  We’d be wise to contemplate our meeting and how we wish to face “Old Bones”, for face him we shall.  In a culture where the cross and empty tomb are shuffled off into ancient lore and the realm of make-believe instead of accepted truth, we must not run to eternal youth as the answer, but to the Eternal One for THE answer: Jesus.

PRAYER: Help us to spend our days on this earth not seeking physical beauty, or a life of care-free mindlessness content to frolic during our time “upon the stage”.  Give us wisdom to contemplate our end, and our beginning, in You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 5/19/16 – The Cobra of Culture

DayBreaks for 5/19/16 – The Cobra of Culture

NOTE: Galen will be out of the office and traveling next week. 

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2006:

You’ve seen them on nature shows: the snake charmer with the cobra.  And you’ve maybe seen them on shows that depict the cobra living in the wild – coiled, raised up, swaying back and forth, staring at their soon-to-be prey.  And almost faster than you can see, the cobra strikes, killing the victim with its deadly venom. 

1 John 2:15 says, Do not love the world or anything in the world.  As Brian Jones notes in Second-Guessing God, the Greek word for world is kosmos.  It’s translated as either world or beauty, depending on the context in which it is used.  We get our word, cosmos from it, but also our word for “cosmetics”.  So the world is not only the world itself, but the beautiful things that are in the world – sculptures, beautiful people, “natural” wonders that take our breath away.  So why does the bible use kosmos in a negative way – telling us to not love the either the world or the things that are in it?

Jones writes: “I think it’s because God knew we could easily fall into the hypnotic stare of our culture and waste our loves, just like the rabbit…seeking happiness from what was created rather than its Creator.  God’s gift to us then, in those lethal moments, is to send trials to shake us free from our culture’s grasp to see our situation for what it really is…what writer Simone Weil once said is absolutely true: ‘If there were no afflictions in this world we might think we were in paradise.’”

What aspects of our culture are like the cobra to you?  What holds your fascination?  Are you sure that it is safe, harmless?  Or even better yet, is it making your life – your true, real life of the spirit, not of the flesh – more holy and righteous?

Because culture is of human origin, and because humans are inherently sinful and flawed, culture by and large has always been antithetical to God. As Kevin DeYoung said in his book about humans and our cultures, “Desire must never be given the priority over obedience. Intense longings do not turn sinful wrongs into civil rights.”

The cobra of culture is coiled, swaying back and forth trying to get us to freeze and focus on it.  Beware – it may strike so quickly that you’ll be dead before you know what happened.

PRAYER:  Lord, how easily we fall under the sway of the evil one and how we resist the loving call of your Spirit to holiness and the pursuit of the holy!  Open our ears, enlighten our minds, give us clear vision to see the serpent as he was in the beginning, and even as he is today – our enemy, speaking to us through lying lips.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/03/16 – Christians Need to Hate More

DayBreaks for 3/03/16: Christians Need to Hate More

Christians are accused of being haters because of stands they take against what we believe are dangerous and harmful things in our culture. People think that Christians hate because they speak out against such things. In reality, if Christians are right in their understanding of Scripture and what it teaches, warning others about the dangers of certain actions could be seen as the most loving thing one could do. After all, isn’t it right to warn people about things that can destroy them and rob them of eternal life? (Assuming the warning is done in a loving, compassionate way, that is!)

Regardless, Christians are called haters. Can I say that most Christians I know don’t hate others – regardless of what others may be doing.  They really don’t. We all have sins that repel us more than others, but that doesn’t mean Christians do – or should – hate sinners. After all – we are sinners, too! Does Jesus hate sinners? No, he loves sinners…he loves you, doesn’t he?

But I am afraid that perhaps Christians don’t hate enough. Does that shock you? Consider these passages:

Psalm 97:10 (NLT) – You who love the LORD, hate evil! He protects the lives of his godly people and rescues them from the power of the wicked.

Who is that verse directed to? “You who love the Lord.” And what are they do to? “…hate evil!” You know what I’m really concerned about? That we don’t know or recognize evil when we see it or hear it. But, those who love the Lord are here commanded to hate evil! (Again – there’s a huge difference between hating evil and hating evil-doers!!!!)

Proverbs 8:13 (NLT) – All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech.

This verse makes a very simple statement and observation, stated as fact: those who fear God WILL hate evil. How true is that of you? Do you hate the evil in your own life? Do you hate the evil that tempts you in the darkness of your own heart, in the times of solitude when you are alone and no one can see you?

Confession time: I don’t hate evil enough. I’m far too fond of the evil in my own life and heart. Perhaps that’s related to the passage that describes the fear of the Lord as the beginning of wisdom. It’s one of those A=B and B=C, therefore A=C propositions. If those who fear the Lord hate evil, and if it is also the beginning of wisdom, then hating evil is also related to wisdom, too.

One more: Amos 5:15 (NLT) – Hate evil and love what is good; turn your courts into true halls of justice. Perhaps even yet the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies will have mercy on the remnant of his people.

This one goes one step farther: it isn’t enough to hate evil, it has to be replaced with something, in this case, loving what is good.

All these things presume one thing: that we are able to discern what is good and what is evil. I fear that, at least in many American churches and American Christians, being able to discern those things has been lost. We let culture tell us what is good and what is evil. We let politicians and courts do our thinking and deciding for us. That is not the Biblical way.

Maybe we need to learn to hate the right things, and learn to love people more than we do.

TODAY’S PRAYER: God, give us ears to listen to You and hearts that can discern good from evil. Create in us a hunger and desire to love what is good and to hate what is evil while still loving the evil-doer. And keep us humble, knowing that we are evil-doers, too. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 10/08/15 – Give Me Back My Songs

DayBreaks for 10/08/05: Give Me Back My Songs  

The French have a story about a millionaire in his palace who spent his days counting his gold. Beside the palace was a poor cobbler who spent his days singing as he repaired people’s shoes. The joyful singing irritated the rich man. One day he decided to give some gold coins to the cobbler. At first the cobbler was overjoyed, and he took the coins and hid them. But then he would be worried and go back to check if the coins were still there. Then he would be worried in case someone had seen him, and he would move the coins and hide them in another place. During all this, he ceased to sing. Then one day he realized that he had ceased to sing because of the gold coins. He took them back to the rich man and said, “Take back your coins and give me back my songs.”

The man in the story discovered that the shiny, valuable coins didn’t deliver on their initial “promise.” There is an old saying that “All that glitters is gold.” I don’t know who came up with that saying, or what they were thinking, but nothing could be further from the truth. I have started to believe that that which glitters is not gold. In fact, I think glitter is one of Satan’s greatest weapons against us in the first world.

It is the allure of glitter, whether it is bars of gold, silver, platinum or other precious metal, or the glitter of fame and the spotlight that goes along with it, or the glitter of a fancy title underneath your name on a business card that draws us away from the things which have real, lasting value.

Scripture tells us that there was nothing about Jesus that would have made him attractive to us in terms that the world would applaud: Isaiah 53:2 (MSG) – The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look.

Where Jesus glittered and shone, and where we should seek to shine, is in the beauty of character and spirit. 1 John 2:15 (MSG) – Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father.

All that glitters is not gold. Don’t let the world’s glitter distract you from love for the Father. If it has stolen your songs, ask God to give them back to you and let go of “the world’s goods!”

PRAYER: God, I know I am easily drawn to glittery things! Let me be drawn to You in love, for You are the far greater treasure! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/21/15 – Our Birthmark

DayBreaks for 8/21/15: Our Birthmark

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

I have some very dear friends who are very interested in “activism.” What do I mean by that? I mean that they’re engaging our culture in as many different ways as possible to try to bring more of the Light to bear on the world’s darkness. They engage in debates, letter-writing campaigns, lobbying efforts, make phone calls to talk radio hosts and some even have run or consider running for public office. Don’t get me wrong, my hat is off to them. I think that what they’re doing is good – they’re at least trying to be the salt and light that we are all called to be. Some folks are called to be more activist than others. Some are more given to acts of service (like Mother Theresa) than political wrangling. God needs people of all kinds, shapes and sizes to do what He wants done.

Still, there’s a part of me that thinks we need to be cautious in our activism. The things we usually become activists about are the things that anger and frustrate us. And anger is not a very good motivation when it comes to doing the Lord’s work. At least not if the anger is something other than righteous indignation. If our anger is directed towards the person and not their actions, we may be missing the boat and working out of ungodly motivations.

Wouldn’t it be true that if our activism, no matter how well-intentioned it is, drives the possibility of love out of the heart of those towards whom my activism is directed, then I am not a proper representative of the gospel of Christ? If my attitudes produce frustration that blocks their way to the cross, I must not be spreading grace, but rather demanding adherence to law.

It is true that a culture war is inevitable and must be fought. I am convinced that such is, indeed, the case. We can’t just let it go by without even raising Godly concerns and truth to the forefront. But we shouldn’t use the same weapons that the enemy uses. We should use the weapons of the Spirit, being armed with grace at all times. 

When you stop to think about it, when we were born into the family of God, our birthmark changed from anything that characterizes the world to become something that characterizes the kingdom of God. We should have but one birthmark: not political correctness, legal or moral superiority, but love. No matter how much we might achieve without love, Paul reminds us that it is of no value. 1 Cor. 13:1-3: If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

The next time we’re tempted to react hotly to something in our culture, let’s be sure our birthmark shows.

PRAYER: Let us never betray our Father! Lord, help us clearly demonstrate Who our Father is! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 07/16/13 – Absurd Questions and Worldviews In Conflict

DayBreaks for 07/16/13 – Absurd Questions and Worldviews in Conflict

chap10-2Matthew 22:37 (NLT)  – Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and ALL your mind.’ (emphasis mine, GCD)

I am sure that you, like I, have scratched your head and asked the question over some news story reporting the actions of others: “What in the world were they thinking?”  Sometimes we wonder if they were thinking at all.  We just don’t understand how any rational creature could do such-and-such.  Why is this?

I think that Darrow L. Miller in Discipling Nations illustrated it well with a story: “Malcolm Muggeridge was one of the leading television journalists of his day.  He was also a third-generation Marxist.  One day in Calcutta while he was doing a piece on Mother Teresa for the BBC, Muggeridge asked her, “Why, when there are so many children in the world, do you try to keep these kids alive?”  Her only answer was a quizzical look.  Thinking this a basic question, he tried once more, again to no avail.  So he went on with his interview.  That night in his hotel room, an insight dawned on  him suddenly (he said later that this was his spiritual turning point).  He realized that Mother Teresa saw those children in a totally different way than he did.  While he saw them as consumers, she saw them as image bearers of God.  To ask Mother Teresa, “Aren’t there too many children in the world?” was like saying, “Mother Teresa, aren’t there too many starts in the sky and too many flowers in the field?”  For her it was an absurd question.

The fundamental difference as to how people are so much at odds with one another is that there is a clash of worldviews in our culture.  There are those who were brought up with a traditional Judeo-Christian worldview who hold to certain values including the value of human life because it is made in the image of God.  Others don’t hold that view largely because they have either abandoned the traditional worldview or never held it in the first place (more common in the most recent generation or two).  When people don’t see humans as made in the image of God but simply as smart mammals that evolved out of primordial slime (having no more value, and perhaps less than whales, monkeys, snail-darters, spotted owls and dolphins), it matters little whether one tries to save humans at all.  In such a world, Muggeridge’s initial question was perfectly logical.  What he came to realize is that Mother Teresa held fast to a different worldview.

How well are you preparing your children and grandchildren to think Biblically?  Not just their lives, but those of their children and grandchildren…of generations…is at stake.  Our minds are to be engaged…fully…as believers.  Our minds won’t save us for that is the realm of faith/grace, but if we don’t return to a Biblical worldview (and there are great books on that topic!), we will reap the whirlwind.  The early winds are already upon us. 

PRAYER:  I fear, Lord, that our minds have grown flabby and that we’ve swallowed un-Biblical worldviews and that we are already reaping the results of our laxity.  Clear our vision, renew our hearts and minds for the sake of generations yet unborn!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.

NOTE: Galen is working as a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) (medicalambassadors.org) and is responsible for raising own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made by going to this link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html and look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Then look for “Galen Dalrymple”.  Click his name and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can donate to his support.  If you wish to make a recurring donation, contact suzette@med-amb.org or call her at 209-543-7500 ext. 219.  You can also write a check to Medical Ambassadors International (a 501.c.3 non-profit – meaning your donations are deductible) and put S090 in the Memo field.  Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368. 

Medical Ambassadors International is a 501.c.3 organization that has been serving the needy, sharing the gospel and helping them become self-sufficient for 32 years.  Check them out!  They are also members of ECFA (the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability).

Your support is greatly appreciated!!!!  Thank you!

DayBreaks for 04/19/13 – Confronting the World’s Value System

DayBreaks for 04/19/13 – Confronting the World’s Value System

Earth boyNOTE: I am on a missions trip/internship to Africa and will be gone until 5/25.  Please pray for God’s work to go forth mightily, for protection for myself and those with whom I will be working, and for my wife in my absence!  Thank you…I cherish your prayers!  You will be receiving DayBreaks as usual (from the archive) until I’ve returned.

We live in a day and age where values are turned upside down and they are even assigned honorable names.  In the name of tolerance, we are told that we must accept and condone sexual immorality and deviation from clearly designed God-given roles of male and female.  We are told that the right to choose is a greater right than the right of an unborn child to life – and we name it “pro-choice” instead of “pro-death”.  But of course, the “pro-choice” people are all for freedom of choice  –  as long as you choose to let them do what they want.  How our culture and world have cheapened values!  How, as Christians, are we to confront and wage battle against this mass deception by the father of lies?

In The Unchained Soul, Calvin Miller offers some guidelines that I think are worth considering and sharing:

First of all, we need to admit that Christians are often uncomfortable trying to live in a secular world because we have forgotten that we are not to consider this world our home.  It may have been a major fault of evangelicals ten years ago that they thought they could actually Christianize the secularians and build the kingdom here on earth.  Now it seems we cannot.  Perhaps this loss of influence will make our thinking clearer.  We have been called by Christ to redeem the world.  We are called neither to Christianize nor control it.”  Miller goes on to describe the fact that we are not to abandon our faith to join the world’s valueless revelry, nor should we abandon our God given responsibility to be light and preservative salt.  But the key is in dying to the world (Romans 6:11 – “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”)

What does this dying to the world mean?  Perhaps no one put it better than saint Francis of Assisi so long ago: “Take a corpse and put it where you will.  You will see that it does not resist being moved, nor murmur about its position, nor protest when it is cast aside.  If it is placed on a throne, it will not raise up its eyes…if it is clothed in purple, it will look twice as pale.  This is a truly obedient man.  He does not judge why he is moved: He has not cared where he is placed…If he is raised to an office, he retains customary humility: the more he is honored, the more unworthy he considers himself.

Miller says: “We who are owned by Jesus are to be his living sacrifices (Gal. 2:20).  But our sacrifice is to link hands with joy.  We are to exult in our Lord’s great love.  We are not to fear this world; we are to enjoy it…So we are sacrificial hedonists.  We sacrifice ourselves to know a richer pleasure.  Filled with Christ, it is our joy to make the world better just by living in it.  In him we sanctify the secular age just by passing through it.

The first step to confront the world’s value system is not to fear it.  The victory is the Lord’s – we cannot lose no matter the outcome of our feeble efforts.  We must not fear it so much that we’re willing to die to it – rather than dwell on what we might miss out on if we were to die to it.  And we need to let our joy be contagious to the world – the joy of the redeemed who know they are redeemed!  Ultimately, if we live our Christian life and joy in front of the world, the world will be better for it!

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

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.

NOTE: Galen has started working with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) (medicalambassadors.org) and is responsible for raising own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made by going to this linke: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html and look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Then look for “Galen Dalrymple”.  Click his name and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can donate to his support.  If you wish to make a recurring donation, contact suzette@med-amb.org or call her at 209-543-7500 ext. 219.  You can also write a check to Medical Ambassadors International (a 501.c.3 non-profit – meaning your donations are deductible) and put S090 in the Memo field.  Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.

Medical Ambassadors International is a 501.c.3 organization that has been serving the needy, sharing the gospel and helping them become self-sufficient for 32 years.  Check them out!  They are also members of ECFA (the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability).

Your support is greatly appreciated!!!!  Thank you!