DayBreaks for 10/06/20 – Playing Games at the Foot of the Cross

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Matthew 27:35-36 (NLT2) – After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there.

The day started like any other for the Roman soldiers. Another day, another execution. So they went to the hill called Calvary, nailed the offender to the cross and then got down to the serious business of gambling – right at the foot of the cross.

There were items to be divvied up – a cloak, an inner garment and some sandals to be sure. So they bet on who would get what and a few walked away with the spoils from the Nazarene.

Have you thought about how that scene must have looked to Jesus as he looked down at them? It must have been mind-blowing! Here they were, mere feet away from the most important and earthshattering event ever – and they were oblivious to the simple fact that it was God on the tree. At least they all seem to have been oblivious except one who eventually started paying attention and made his own startling declaration about who they were killing.

Oh, it’s so easy to be shocked by their behavior and games they were playing at the foot of the cross! But let’s not miss this: we aren’t that different than those soldiers – even those of us who bear the name of the Crucified One!

Consider: churches fight over a finite population of potential members. We dole out condemnation and judgments. We are seeking our own personal gain (a sandal here, a cloak there) to get ahead, get something for free.

We hold rallies celebrating how righteous my cause is and how unrighteous you are if you differ from my views. We write books about what other believers are doing wrong. We major in telling tales about the “others” and take joy in unveiling weaknesses – not for the purpose of restoration – but to take them down! We argue over points of “doctrine”, about other denominations and whether or not they are “of the Lord”.

And Jesus must look down at us in stunned disbelief.

As Max Lucado put it: “We, too, play games at the foot of the cross…So close to the timber yet so far from the blood…we are so close to the world’s most uncommon event but we act like common crapshooters huddled in bickering groups and fighting over silly opinions.

“May they all be one,” Jesus prayed.

“One, not one in groups of two thousand. But one in One. One church. One faith. One Lord. Not Baptist, not Methodist, not Adventist. Just Christians. No denominations. No hierarchies. No traditions. Just Christ.”

What can we do to stop playing games at the foot of the cross? Build bridges, toss a rope to someone struggling to keep their head above the swelling tide, pray for unity. Choose to “be the soldier who snaps to his senses, jumps to his feet, and reminds the rest of us, ‘Hey, that’s God on that cross!”

There are far too many games being played at the foot of the cross. Let’s refuse to play those petty games any more!

PRAYER: Jesus, take mercy on us! Turn us from game playing to Kingdom building! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 08/15/11 – The Key to Winning the World

DayBreaks for 08/15/11 – The Key to Winning the World

NOTE: I feel as if some of my DayBreaks recently have veered a bit off target by not delving enough into Scripture.  While I’ll still do stories about things in the news, etc., that are instructive, I will do more that are based solely on Scripture and Bible study that I’ve been doing.  Thanks for listening…and reading!!!!  – Galen

Wouldn’t it be great to know the secret to winning the world for Christ?  How many things have been tried by the church throughout the history since the times of Christ?  Churches are great on programs.  It seems to be one of the things that the church does best…”Let’s start another program!”  But programs are not the key to winning the world for Christ.  Programs can be good, but they can also become the reason for existence of a given congregation, rather than to serve and glorify Christ.

I think that Jesus has given us the key to winning the world.  He gave it to his disciples just before his betrayal in the garden.  He gave it to them as part of a prayer to the Father.  Here’s what he had to say:  I pray for these followers, but I am also praying for all those who will believe in me because of their teaching.  Father, I pray that they can be one.  As you are in me and I am in you, I pray that they can also be one in us.  Then the world will believe that you sent me. (Jn. 17:20)

Do you see it?  Unity is the key.  Jesus said that if we are one, as he and the Father are One, then the world will believe that the Father sent Jesus.  In other words, if we are united with each other, then the world would know that Jesus is from the Father.  That doesn’t mean that everyone would become believers, just that people wouldn’t be able to deny His Sonship.  And that’s a great first step to winning the world.

Unity – not agreement, not uniformity of opinion or even doctrine, not negotiation, arbitration…but acceptance of one another with all our foibles and disagreements and diverse opinions, not because everyone is right, but because we have been accepted by the Perfect One even with our imperfections.

Unity finds its basis in grace.  It is only as we understand how much grace God has extended to us that we can extend it to others in our fellowship.  And when we do, the world will believe Christ came from the Father.  Sadly, the converse is also true: to the extent that we don’t have unity, the world will not believe there is anything special about Jesus – in fact, they’ll not be able to see He came from the Father at all.  All they’ll be able to see is a group of squabbling people.

PRAYER: Forgive us, Jesus, for all that we let divide us that causes the world to think you are nothing but a Jewish rabbi – and nothing more!  Help us grasp even a portion of the grace you’ve extended to us by accepting us, so that we can in turn extend it to others.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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