DayBreaks for 12/03/18 – Smart Devil

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DayBreaks for 12/03/18: Smart Devil

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2008:

As a minister, I must tell you about one of my pet peeves.  I despise the concept of “professional” ministry.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my “job” and what I do.  What I hate is the distinction people have about clergy and laity.  For one thing, I think it is not very biblical.  Sure, there were rabbis in the days of Jesus – and there will always be preachers and teachers and others who are blessed with the calling and privilege of proclaiming the Word.  But the distinction has created some real problems, too.

Over time, people became experts at medicine, astronomy, philosophy, literature, physics, art, music…and that is as it should be.  After all, you don’t want a non-expert opening your chest to do a bypass, do you?  It is only right that people develop their skills and talents to perform work that others cannot do.  But when it comes to our walk with God, it is strange that we have the idea that a professional is needed to tell us how to walk with and follow Jesus. 

Do we really need an expert to tell us how to become Christ-like?  2 Timothy 3:16-17 would tend to suggest otherwise: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  Do you see it?  We don’t need someone to tell us what to do to do everything as Jesus would have us do them.  We just need to know the Scripture.  Scripture gives us all the instruction we need.  And it becomes dangerous when we lean on some other person and their opinion.  We can always count on Scripture to be reliable and trustworthy.  We can’t always count on other’s thoughts (or our own!) in the same way.  

Following Jesus through the teaching of the Scripture makes anyone, clergy or laity, a Jesus-expert.  There is no excuse for men and women, girls and boys (especially in America) to be ignorant of the Word or to be anything less than a Jesus-expert.  The very idea that we can’t all be Jesus-experts is one of the devil’s most clever ploys.  He’s a smart devil, our enemy.  Don’t let him fool you or make you think you need some expert to tell you how to do it.  The Spirit IS the expert! The Word is inspired!  And Jesus will always be the truth!

PRAYER: Almighty Father, help us to be students of the Word, to become experts at following Jesus.  Let us accept no excuse for being ignorant of the Word and tone-deaf to the Spirit.  May we all grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/17/17 – The Body of Truth is Bleeding

DayBreaks for 1/17/17 – The Body of Truth is Bleeding

We like to think of the stories of Jesus when he welcomed the little children, where he forgave the woman taken in adultery, where he speaks of the lilies of the field and birds of the air while reminding us that we don’t need to worry, for he is on our side.  Those are not only good stories, but they are true and reveal to us a lot about the nature of God that was fully contained in Jesus.  But those are not the only stories of Jesus in the Scripture.  And some of the other stories are less comforting and far more disturbing.

The cleansing of the temple (John 2:13-22) is an excellent case in point.  We don’t see “Jesus, meek and mild” in that story.  We see an enraged Savior.  He’s not acted impulsively – he took the time to “fashion” a whip – before tearing through the tables and corridors of the temple, tossing around the tables and undoubtedly the “earnings” of those who were selling things in the temple of God for exorbitant prices. 

We don’t like to contemplate that image of Jesus, do we?  How many people have you ever known who said that the cleansing of the temple is their favorite Bible story?  I know of no one who loves that story for its own sake. 

Jesus was a passionate man, and is a passionate God.  He loves goodness – and is passionate about it.  He hates evil and anything associated with it.  Perhaps more than anything else, he loves truth and hates falsehood.  Jesus loved the truth so much that he said, “I am the truth.”  How important does Jesus think the truth is?  It is as important as Jesus himself, for he is truth!

In The Importance of Being Foolish, Brennan Manning wrote: “In our society, where money, power and pleasure are the name of the game, the body of truth is bleeding from a thousand wounds.”  Jesus is bleeding from a thousand wounds, for he has been misrepresented (perhaps unintentionally) by those who would claim to show others what Jesus is like.  They portray only the soft, tender, gentle Jesus, but not the Jesus who is incensed by injustice, by unholy lives, by dilution and twisting of the clear truth of Scripture. 

How do we go about trying to be discerning about truth?  Again, I think Manning had something worth considering: “The first step in the pursuit of truth is not the moral resolution to avoid the habit of petty lying – however unattractive a character disfigurement that may be.   It is not the decision to stop deceiving others.  It is the decision to stop deceiving ourselves.”  We need to have the same passion for truth that Jesus held in his heart.  If we don’t, we are not true disciples and are only deceiving ourselves.

PRAYER:  God, open our eyes to truth and to our own self-deceptions.  Help us to love truth and hate deceitfulness and dishonesty.  Give us the discernment to recognize truth when we read it, see it or hear it – and to recognize falsehood in all its forms as the tool of evil.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  All Rights Reserved.

DayBreaks for 6/13/14 – The Dangerous Deception

DayBreaks for 6/13/14 – The Dangerous Deception

NOTE: This week’s DayBreaks are from the archives of June, 2004.

Romans 12:17 (NLT)  – Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.

“For two years, 38-year-old Jian Feng had the luxury of a beautiful woman at his side.  Everything was going perfectly fine until the couple decided to have a baby.  Apparently, his wife gave birth to a baby girl so ugly that Feng was ‘horrified’ at the sight of her.  Feng immediately assumed that his trophy wife had been cheating on him with any ugly fellow.  Quick to defend her daughter, his wife admitted to having $127,000 worth of plastic surgery in South Korea before they had met.  She then produced a picture of how she used to took and let him have a look.  Well, this set Feng over the edge and not only did he waste no time filing for divorce, but he also sued her for deceit.  He managed to get $99,700 out of the whole deal.”  – Bizarre News

Ah, what an example of the concept of “appearances are deceiving”.  It seems like a strange coincidence that I got this news article the day after listening to a talk show where they were describing this very thing.  This may be the most extreme example I’ve heard of, but in this day and age of liposuction and plastic surgery, numerous folks have thought they were marrying someone beautiful (at least on the outside), and when they find out that genetically they weren’t “beautiful” to start with – they’ve filed suits and even divorced.

It’s sad – the emphasis on what is seen.  It has caused trouble from the garden of Eden onward.  The fruit was “pleasing to the eye”.  And we’ve been after good looking things ever since.

Some thoughts:

FIRST: the desire to be beautiful seems to be largely limited to externals.  There seems to be virtually no limit to how much some people will spend to make themselves physically beautiful.  It makes me wonder why people complain so much about spending some of their hard earned money on counseling, marriage seminars, or other things intended to make us better people from the inside out.

SECOND: ultimately, you can’t spend enough money to become a beautiful person, because you can’t buy godliness and holiness.  The worthy woman of Proverbs wasn’t admired for her beauty, but because of her character.  Husbands – what is it that drives you?  Your wife’s looks, or her holiness/Christlike demeanor?  Perhaps we Christian husbands have put too much emphasis on the physical, too.

THIRD: we are so easily deceived.  A little plastic surgery fooled Jian Feng, but it takes only a word or two from Satan or one of his servants to lead us down the rabbit-trail towards sin.  And then, when we learn the truth – that what we thought we desired above all else didn’t really make us happy and instead of being beautiful it was ugly and sordid – we react bitterly and angrily.

FINALLY: it seems to me that Mr. Feng needed plastic surgery of the soul.  But then again, don’t we all?  Mrs. Feng had tried to hide what happened to make her “beautiful”.  If she’d told her husband up front, this tragedy might have been avoided.  How much are you and I hiding what the Spirit has and is doing in us?  Why do we hide it?  We should provide things honest in the sight of all men – including what we have been, and who we now are and who we are becoming, through the work of the indwelling Spirit.  Honesty really is the best policy.

PRAYER: Father, help us seek, and find, the beauty that delights Your soul. In Your name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple

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