DayBreaks for 9/25/18 – Yet Even Now

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DayBreaks for 9/25/08Yet Even Now

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2008:

What an interesting mess our country is in!  If anyone had asked at the beginning of the year if such giants as Merrill-Lynch, Lehman Brothers and others would be bankrupt and out of business by this time, people would have laughed at them.  The big 3 American car manufacturers are all teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.  Even the huge AIG corporation had to be bailed out.  It’s enough to make you discouraged.

Discouragement comes from many different venues.  By the bountiful hand of God, I do have some funds tucked away in a large investment company, but each day I watch them dwindle in value.  The value of our home here in California has taken a huge hit – I can’t imagine how anyone could possibly sell and come out on the right side of things.  But discouragement also comes from moral failings (otherwise known as sin) – and once again, I’m in the same boat with everyone else on that score.  In fact, every human being is in that boat – just look around at your fellow passengers and you’ll see everyone you know there!

Discouragement…it’s easy to come, but hard to make it go away.  Andree Seu wrote in the August 23-30 issue of WORLD magazine about this phenomenon: “Sometimes I give in to the discouragement because I have been round this block so often that God can’t possibly forgive and reinstate me again – at least not until I show Him a good two weeks of being properly miserable.  If this is your problem, too, I have a verse for us: Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to Me with all your heart.  (Joel 2:12)  I often rest my whole life on that “yet even now.”…There are no larger battles than the private internal ones…And the corollary is that there is no Christian life except the moment-by-moment kind – more pointedly, the moment-by-moment choice to believe in God.  The Christian life is not lived on the level of doctrine, or our various observances, or our political action, though these are all required.  And what that moment-by-moment faith in God looks like is a brawl.  If there is no constant battle, there is probably no authentic life.  The battle can be joyful, but it is a battle.  And it comes with a promise: Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him. (Jas. 1:12)

Discouraged?  Someone sent me this just this past week, and it was too good to keep to myself:

TOP TEN PREDICTIONS FOR 2008
1. The Bible will still have all the answers.

  1. Prayer will still work.
    3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
    4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
    5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
    6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
    7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
    8. There will still be room at the Cross.
    9. Jesus will still love you.
    10. Jesus will still save the lost.
    ISN’T IT GREAT TO KNOW WHO IS STILL IN CONTROL?!
    The unfailing love of the Lord never ends! Lamentations 3:22.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord that we don’t have to control events – that we can leave them in Your perfectly capable hands.  Help us to remember that no matter what happens to the markets or the elections or the war or with disease or anything else, some things never change because You have decreed them from ages past.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. 

DayBreaks for 9/22/16 – Only If We Despair

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DayBreaks for 9/22/16 – Only If We Despair      

From the DayBreaks archive, 9/19/2006:

Copyright © 2006 Christianity Today. September 2006, Vol. 50, No. 9, Page 118

“But it is important for Christians not to confuse the existence of bad news with our reaction to the bad news—and here it is useful to look at The Screwtape Letters.

“C. S. Lewis’s famous novel was conceived and written during World War II, when so much looked bad. One of the most striking moments in the story arrives when the inexperienced junior devil, Wormwood, chortles over the horrors of war. Screwtape sternly admonishes his nephew not “to forget the main point in your immediate enjoyment of human suffering.” In war, says the senior devil, people die. But hell gains nothing from mere human misery and death, he warns. It is the state in which people die that matters.

“Lewis is not suggesting that we celebrate our suffering or that we stand blind to the suffering of others. His point, rather, is that Christians should not mistakenly think that bad news here on earth means Satan is winning. Men have done terrible things to each other ever since Eden. The horrors of war—like the other pains and scars of life—pose a challenge to faith. Lewis suggests that what truly matters is how we meet that challenge: the battle, that is, in the spiritual realm.

“As the writer of Hebrews said to discouraged believers, “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the Cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12:1-3).

“Lewis’s vision of Satan is far more useful and scary than Hollywood’s. The film industry loves making movies about hell. In these high-budget visions of the underworld, demons usually emerge to do bad things to people, causing death and destruction here on earth. The hero either slays them or works some mystic incantation that sends them back, after which life on earth returns to what it was before. The demons are just like other Hollywood bad guys: terrorists, serial killers, the ruthless rich out to rule the world. In these visions, the bad thing about Satan is that he wants to do bad things to us here and now.

“C. S. Lewis’s marvelous imagination, by contrast, should remind us that this vision is dangerously wrong. The terrible tragedies that befall the world work to Satan’s benefit only if we despair. Suffering, as Screwtape reminds his nephew, often strengthens faith. Better to keep people alive, he says, long enough for faith to be worn away. The death of a believer is the last thing the Devil wants.”

Galen’s Thoughts: Sometimes I’m tempted to think that Satan loves misery and death.  I’m not sure that’s right.  After all, I rather doubt that Satan licks his chops when he contemplates his own fate in eternal hell.  So Lewis’ point is a good one: he only relishes death of humans when they die without Christ.  He’d much rather that we as believers stay alive long enough to give him more time to beat us up, to wear down our resolve and surrender to the suffering of this world, blaming it on God with the result being that we reject Him.  I don’t know about you, but I, for one, don’t want to give Satan that satisfaction.  How much better that we spend our time, not in thinking that the suffering is what matters, but that the souls of men and women are what truly is important.

PRAYER:  We are a depressed and discouraged society.  The enemy even attacks us from within the sheepfold, Lord!  But help us stay focused on the ultimate realities with which we are faced.  Help us to realize that our despair plays into Satan’s hands.  May we find comfort and assurance and sustenance beside You in green pastures beside the still waters.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

DayBreaks for 12/30/15 – Great Expectations

DayBreaks for 12/30/15: Great Expectations

In just two days the new year will come screaming in like a newborn baby. We don’t have much choice about it – there’s nothing we can do to stop its arrival. You may face the coming year with a bit of anxiety or even fear. No one can tell you what the new year will hold for you and your loved ones. We shall have to wait and see.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t all have hopes for the new year, and dare I say it, even expectations? Most all of us expect that our health will probably be about the same as it was in 2015. Most will be correct about that expectation. Some will not. Most of us expect to have another Christmas season to spend with our loved ones, but some will not have that blessing. Most expect that they’ll continue to be employed, but some will certainly receive pink slips in the coming year. Some who are sick now may be better by the end of 2016. Some who are now single will find love and life-time companions for the journey. Some are expecting little bundles of joy and will receive them.

Expectations are common to all of us. But what happens when our expectations are not fulfilled? How will you deal with the frustrated expectations you will experience this coming year? They may be related to your marriage, your children, your work, your school, friendships or other matters. One thing for sure is that you will have some unmet expectations.

Let me suggest this: don’t let them shatter your faith! Dreams may be broken, but that doesn’t mean you faith needs to be busted and destroyed. It is important to remember this about expectations and faith: faith increases when Jesus, rather than an expected outcome or result, is the object of our faith.

Here’s one expectation that we would all do well to hold tightly to this coming year: Jesus will never either leave us or forsake us. We may feel at times during this coming year that he is not there – but that’s more a problem with our expectation of how we sense his presence than the reality of his presence and concern.

Don’t let broken expectations break your faith. Hold tightly to it – and to Jesus!

TODAY’S PRAYER: Father God, as we prepare for what the coming year may hold, we ask you to keep our expectations in check and our response to unmet expectations serve to strengthen our faith rather than weaken or destroy it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DayBreaks for 1/10/11: Despair and Discouragement

NOTE: This is the first test DayBreaks at the WordPress.com blog site….bear with us as we work out any kinks…

Despair and Discouragment

God created our emotions – all of them.  And all of them have their proper place and use.  Some emotions help us stay alive when we are threatened (fear), some help us make commitments and keep them (love), and still others help us cope with life in other ways.  Of all human emotions, two of the most dangerous and deadly are despair and discouragement.

Do you know how the great composer Tchaikovsky died?  While there are multiple versions of the story, one of them that is attributed to a reliable source says the end of Tchaikovsky’s life was determined four days after one of his symphonies received an unfavorable reception in St. Petersburg. The great composer was apparently despondent over the critique of his work, and even though he was already feeling ill, he deliberately drank a glass of unboiled water in the middle of a cholera epidemic.  His friends who saw him do this were shocked and appalled.  When they expressed their alarm, Tchaikovsky told them that he was less afraid of cholera than other illnesses.  Cholera, however, was not a respecter of persons and within a mere 4 days, he died of the disease.

This was a sad and tragic death – needless and useless.  That one of the world’s leading composers should have died by such a foolish and fatalistic act is shocking.

There are spiritual parallels that we need to consider.  There are people everywhere who are slowly killing themselves because they have grown hopeless about their lives and they are ready to give in to the despair they feel.  They may not drink unboiled water but they are killing themselves nonetheless by pursuing unhealthy lifestyles, taking pointless and senseless risks, they are being crushed by oppressive stress – all because they have lost any and all hope.

Change is possible.  Redemption is available, and there is hope as long as there is Jesus – and there is always Jesus!  With Jesus, all things, including rebounding from despair and discouragement is possible.  He offers us hope, peace and joy.  To a large extent, whether we will have peace and joy or despair and discouragement depends on how much trust we have in Christ.

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God! Psalm 42:11, NLB

PRAYER: Lift us from our lives of despair.  Help us to trust in Your wisdom to choose what is right and best for us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

For an archive of the past DayBreaks, click here:  DayBreaks Archive