DayBreaks for 7/13/15 – Weep No More!

DayBreaks for 7/13/15: Weep No More

Winners.  Losers.  Victors.  Vanquished.

No one likes to lose.  Athletes hate it with a passion.  Business persons, do too.  When armies lose, nations tumble and lives are lost.  When the famous stop being famous, when the “beautiful people” are older and no longer “beautiful”, they feel lost and adrift as that which gave them “value” is now gone.

When the Jews were taken captive by the Babylonians, they must have felt like losers.  Daniel 1:2 describes it like this: And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. – Daniel 1:2 (ESV)

Judah, the more “faithful” of the two kingdoms, held to the strong illusion that they were true to God.  They felt He would protect them.  Yet they honored him with their lips but their hearts were far from Him.  Even the glorious house of God that had been built by Solomon was razed to the ground, the temple objects taken from the temple and put into the temples of a false God.  Do you suppose they felt like losers?  I think they did.

There have been plenty of things lately that may make the church feel like all is lost.  That God has abandoned us.  That the fight just as well be over because the outcome is so clear and obvious.  And we may well feel like losers.

Don’t.  Check this out: And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” – Revelation 5:5 (ESV)

You see, it isn’t over until it is over.  Jesus WILL have the final word..the FINAL word.  And that Word will bring victory for the church.

Things may look dismal.  I get it!  They start to look more and more hopeless – especially in the past couple of years.  But the victory will be gained.  Rather than weeping over the present state of affairs, take heart, Christian!  Weep no more, but join in with great expectation because you are on the winning side!

PRAYER: Jesus, things haven’t gone well in the past few years on this planet, but you already know that.  I pray you will keep us from discouragement or surrender! Help us remember that rather than weeping over the state of affairs, that you call us to join you in the present work and the great victory celebration to come!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 06/06/13: Setting the Captives Free

9bf22f3243d0a511320f6a706700bde6NOTE: From the DayBreaks archives, dated 06/06/2003:

Luke 4:18-19 – “18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

This passage was a Messianic prophecy, an expectation proclaimed by the inspired prophet Isaiah.  Jesus applied it to himself and his mission.  The reasons he gives for his coming are glorious and they all strike a chord with the human heart.  Have we not all been in need of good news?  Have we not all been brokenhearted, been blind to many things, been bruised and bleeding?  Have we not all been held captive in some way or another by the thrall of sin and Satan?  Who could not be touched by the longing that the mission of the Lord evokes in the human heart?

Most of us have never been physically held captive.  Recently, we were fascinated by the story of Jessica Lynch, the young woman who was taken captive in Iraq.  My generation was equally fascinated by the stories of the captives from the war in Vietnam.  John McCain, now a senator, was held as a prisoner of war in the Hanoi “Hilton” for nearly seven years if my memory serves me correctly.  I remember when the prisoners of war came home from Vietnam – the photographs of the reunions were emotional and striking.

But we have all been held captive by one captor: Satan.  From the moment we first took on human flesh and sin-guilt, we were his prisoners.  In Jesus’ statement, he is proclaiming war on Satan, giving him notice of his intent to break into the dungeon of despair, guilt and depravity that has held us in – and to give us back our freedom.

But what of the enemy himself?  Well, Isaiah had something to say about the outcome of the enemy, too, in Isaiah 14:16-17.  When we struggle so mightily, get down and discouraged thinking that we are still lost and hopeless, we would do well to remind ourselves of why Jesus came (to free us) and to what will happen to our enemy: “16 Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: “Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble, 17 the man who made the world a desert, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?

The day will come when the all will see Jesus and every knee will bow in respect and admiration.  The enemy?  He’ll bow, too.  But all who see the enemy will wag their tongues and seeing his fate, will wonder why he ever was so feared.  Compared to God and His Son, Satan will seem incredibly small and insignificant.

Copyright 2003 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 01/03/13 – The Agony of Victory

DayBreaks for 01/03/13 – The Agony of Victory

victory

1 Kings 19:1-3 (ESV)Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” 3 Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

Do you remember ABC’s Wide World of Sports?  It used to air weekly, and one of their most famous lines was: The Thrill of Victory, the Agony of Defeat.  Elijah knew something about both.

Elijah was a great man of God.  Just before this text, he had taken the challenge of the prophets of Baal on the top of Mt. Carmel to determine whether Jehovah was the true God or if Baal was the real god.  You know the story – it was no contest, God showed up in great power and the rout was on!  A tremendous vindication not just of God, but of Elijah as a favored prophet in the hands of that great God.  It would be hard for us to find a parallel in our own lives, but imagine that you are in a public venue where God was being ridiculed and you stand up for Jesus and God gives a spectacular sign that is too clear to be denied – and you and God are both vindicated.  That would be a similar situation.

But in spite of this tremendous victory, Elijah was still just a man, a sinner like all of us.  Fearful like all of us.  And he fell prey to a common pitfall: after God has done something great in our lives or the lives of those we love, the enemy comes hustling in hot on the heels of a great God-moment in our lives and we are threatened and we pull back in fear.

So, what are we to do in order to avoid falling into this trap?  It’s is interesting that in 1 Kings 19, Elijah hears the voice of Jezebel loud and clear, but there’s no indication that he sought to hear from Jehovah before God comes to him, hiding in a cave.  Even then, it wasn’t Elijah that sought to strike up the conversation: God initiates it.

I believe we get so carried away in our celebration that our guard slips and in our celebration forget to seek God in the midst of our giddiness.  We need to remember that we are most vulnerable not when things are going bad, but when things are going too good.  We forget God in the victories because we, as prideful humans, think we had something to do with the victory, but we remember God in the defeats because we want to blame Him for whatever has gone “wrong”.

When God blesses you with some victory or gives you cause to celebrate – by all means, do so with your full heart!  But beware…the enemy doesn’t like it when you celebrate something God has done.  Don’t let him drive fear and doubt into your heart.

PRAYER:  Thank you, Jesus, for the many small and large victories we receive through Your power and grace each day!  Remind us to be cautious and wary of the enemy who loves to silence any celebration that has to do with You and what You’ve done! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 05/30/12 – The Uprising

DayBreaks for 05/30/12 – The Uprising 

We live in a world at war.  Yes, there are wars where bullets, bombs and guns are used and, I suppose, there always will be until the end.  They are terrible.  We have just “celebrated” Memorial Day in honor of the men and women who have fought and served…and those who gave their lives in the “last full measure of devotion.”  That is one kind of war…and all war is deadly and to be hated.  Some soldiers live after their war is over and others don’t.

We are also locked in a great war that has gone on since the garden…the war between good and evil, right and wrong, life and death.  This war is a war that we are all engaged in by virtue of our birth.  If you are a human being, there is no way out of this war except death.  We make choices in this war daily.

There are times when we feel that this war is being lost.  The forces of the enemy would seem to grow stronger each day.  They seem to advance in uncountable hordes, attacking on the left, right, from every direction.  And, it does often seem that the victories they are racking up will inevitably lead to a victory.

Be not deceived.  You see, the outcome of the war, the end of the war, was written two thousand years ago on a cross and in an empty tomb outside Jerusalem.  Yes, there are still skirmishes, but the outcome of the war has been sealed for nearly 2000 years.  We can take hope and comfort in that truth.

That doesn’t mean, however, that we are to just sit back and wait for the final outcome.  We are still on the battlefield.  What can we do that will have any impact?  We can live lives that imitate our Commander in Chief and that honor Him.  We can wage war against evil, death, hatred, injustice whenever we confront it.  But the greatest weapon at our disposal is one that perhaps we don’t employ nearly enough.  Karl Barth described that weapon: “To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.”

Isn’t it time that we all take up this great weapon of our warfare and wield it with great power and might and passion?  Let us renew ourselves in our determination and dedication to pray for daily victories…and for the hastening of the dawning of the day of ultimate victory’s realization!

1 Timothy 6:12 (NLT) – Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.

PRAYER: Jesus, as we await the great victory celebration, hear our prayers that each day we will see the cross advance, that we will engage in prayer and in battle with the enemy who shall fall before your great and mighty power!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 03/24/11 – The Agony of Defeat

DayBreaks for 03/24/11 – The Agony of Defeat

 

Not all defeats are truly defeats...

For years as a young boy, I watched ABC-TV’s “The Wide World of Sports” religiously.  I have always loved sports in nearly every incarnation.  It didn’t matter if you were talking hunting, fishing, climbing, or any other sport – I would turn it on and watch!  One of the most memorable parts of the show was the opening sequence, that described “…the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”  The agony of defeat was well illustrated with a clip of a painful ending to an attempted ski jump. The skier seemed to be in great shape coming down the ramp to attempt his jump, but then, for no apparent reason, the skier tumbles head over heels off the near side of the jump, bouncing off the supporting structure as part of his horrific crash.

 

What viewers never knew what that the skier in the clip chose to fall rather than make the jump. He explained why he did it later: the ramp had become too fast, and when he was about half-way down the ramp, he knew that if he went ahead with the jump that he would land on the level ground, well beyond the safely sloping landing area.  To land on the level ground could have been fatal, or could have snapped his spine like a twig, so he purposely aborted the jump..

As it turned out, the skier suffered no more than a headache from the tumble though for all intents and appearances, one would think he must have broken a dozen bones.

To change course in life can be a dramatic and painful, but change is better than a fatal landing at the end.  The wise will hear the warnings of the Lord and will change, before it is too late.

The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin. – Proverbs 10:8

PRAYER: Help us see truth, to recognize danger, and to make the changes in our life that You show us before we crash and burn!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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