DayBreaks for 5/30/18 – Satan’s Strategy

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DayBreaks for 5/30/18: Satan’s Stragegy

It pays to know your enemy.  Ask any soldier and they’ll tell you that it’s important to understand how the enemy thinks, what their strategy is in given circumstances, what kind of tools, equipment and weaponry they have at their disposal.  It is only a fool who goes into battle without having considered the capabilities of the enemy. 

We spend a lot of time as Christians contemplating Christ and what he has done.  It is only right that it should be so, for one cannot dwell on the subject and person of Jesus too much.  Still, I can’t help but wonder if we don’t gather too little “intelligence” on our enemy, Satan.  Fortunately, Scripture is full of information on how Satan works to draw us into sin.

What is the impression that most people have about Christianity?  They believe Christians are repressed, and repressive, because the critics of Christians believe God is repressive.  Do you know why?  It’s because of the very first lie that Satan told – his first deception.  When he approached Eve, he caused her to come to the conclusion that God was repressive because He’d said, “Thou shalt not eat.”    By drawing God into question by saying (paraphrased): “Did got really say you couldn’t eat anything at all that you wanted to?”, he put the concept of a repressive God into human minds.  And it’s been there ever since. 

Is God repressive?  Eve had it right originally in her response: “No, we can eat of any tree except one.”  Does that sound repressive?  There was only one prohibition, and it was so that they could remain free from guilt.  But Satan’s strategy is, as Don Everts put it, “subtle wooing,” not blatant aggression.  He wants to mislead us, not frighten us.  He wants us to think he is our friend, after all. 

But there’s only one friend who laid down his life for us…and it wasn’t Satan.  That speaks volumes.

PRAYER:  Steel our hearts against the enemy of our souls, Lord.  Help us to see that repression leads to slavery, but grace to forgiveness and freedom!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

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DayBreaks for 11/11/16 – The Mortal Enemy Within

DayBreaks for 11/11/16: The Mortal Enemy Within

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2006: (Galen is traveling again)

Just this past week, once again we heard of the leader of an evangelical group being accused of secret sin.  I don’t know at the time of this writing if the allegations will prove to be true or false, God knows and only time will tell the truth of the matter.  Regardless, it is sad and tragic.  I hope and pray that it is false and will be shown conclusively to be false.  But it reminded me again of the danger of secret sin in our lives. 

Don’t pretend that you don’t know what I’m talking about.  We all have them.  Some may just be things we think in our heads, but others may be acted out under the cover of darkness, or with great guile so as to not be seen and caught in our sin.  We are a deceptive lot when it comes to sin. 

I’ve read that there is an insect that physically, to all appearances, is very much like a bumble bee, but which is actually a terrible enemy to the same bee.  But because it looks so much like the bumble bee, when it shows up at the hive, it will sometimes be admitted into the bees’ nest, and there it will lay its own eggs.  When the eggs finally hatch, the larva of the interloper devour the larva that come from the bees’ own eggs.  So, while it shows up looking and pretending to be a bee, it turns out to be a consuming enemy. 

It’s the same way with the sin (secret or otherwise) that we harbor in our hearts – it eats away at the vital elements of our spiritual lives and if left unresolved and unremoved, destroys our ability to grow and be useful to the Master and others.  What makes it so insidious is that it comes masked in the guise of a friend and helper.

What are the secret sins that you’ve managed to keep hidden from prying eyes?  What intruders (lies of Satan) have you let infiltrate your heart?  Here’s how to know: look at what culture wants you to believe and compare that to what the Word teaches.  We fall for the Destroyer’s lies all of the time!

The warning from Numbers 32:23 is especially necessary for us: “…and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.”  If that’s not good enough for you, listen to Jesus’ own words on the matter: Luke 12:2 (NLT) – The time is coming when everything will be revealed; all that is secret will be made public.  If that doesn’t make you stop and think twice about your secret sin, you (and I) need to read it again.  May we all resolve that by the Spirit of the Lord, we will turn aside from our secret sin as we confess it and repent.

Psalms 90:8 (NIV) – You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.

Numbers 32:23 (NLT) – But if you fail to keep your word, then you will have sinned against the LORD, and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.

PRAYER: Lord, you have searched our hearts and you know us and you know every secret sin and thought we have.  Lord, we don’t want our secret sins to be found out, we don’t want them to be brought into the light of day to bring shame to you.  Help us to truly and deeply repent and turn from our secret sins.  May our lives be holy sacrifices to You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/10/16 – What Love Really Means

DayBreaks for 8/10/16 – What Love Really Means

From the DayBreaks Archive for August, 2006:

Matt. 5.43ff: Ye have heard that it was said, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy; but I say unto you, Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you, that ye may be sons of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.

From The Cost of Discipleship by Deitrich Bonhoeffer: “Here, for the first time in the Sermon on the Mount, we meet the word which sums up the whole of its message, the word “love”.  Love is defined in uncompromising terms as the love of our enemies.  Had Jesus only told us to love our brethren, we might have misunderstood what he meant by love, but now he leaves us in no doubt whatever as to his meaning.”

APPLICATION: Have you ever really thought of love in those terms?  Isn’t the love that we have for those who are our enemies a much greater measure of our love than what we feel for those who are our friends?  It’s easy to love friends and relatives (usually!!)  It is another matter entirely to love those who see you as a weak person and who ridicule you for your faith, or who might even persecute you because they believe you are dangerous and your ideas about right and wrong might cramp their style or contradict theirs.

Wasn’t the love of God for His enemies (that’s us) the real measure of His love?  We expect Him to love His son.  What was unexpected was that He should love us as He does.  And indeed, in the passage from Matthew, it is the love for our enemies that he says causes us to be sons of our Father.  If our Father loves that way, we must be that way, too, if we are to bear the likeness of the Father.

What enemy are you having a hard time loving today?  Is it someone who slighted you?  Someone who laughed at you?  Someone who treated you unfairly at work – maybe taking credit for something good that you did or possibly blaming you for something they did wrong?  Is it a someone competing with you for a promotion?  A competitor for someone’s affections?  Perhaps a relative who wronged you?  Identify someone that you need to love with the love that the Father has shown us.  Pray about it.  Ask the Spirit to show you how you can show love for them in a way that will bring glory to our Father.  And then – do it!  God will be pleased and you’ll have the peace that comes from knowing you are walking in the Father’s footsteps!

PRAYER:  We all have enemies, or at the very least, we confess we have those who we don’t love the way we should.  Help us, Jesus, to turn our enemies into loved ones.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 6/24/16 – You Must be Kidding!

DayBreaks for 6/24/16 – You Must be Kidding

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:

Jesus said many things during his Incarnation that were provocative and considered scandalous by those who were nearby.  He told stories about the hated Samaritans in which they were the heroes and the Jews were the bad guys.  He forgave sins – a prerogative reserved only for God Himself.  He healed on the day of rest – showing us that God’s compassion doesn’t take days off – and created a scandal.  His teaching about marriage and divorce, hate, lust – all stirred anger, bitterness and resentment.

But perhaps no words of Jesus were more scandalous, nor more hard for us to keep, than these words from Luke 6:35-36 (NLT): Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

As Michael Card put it The Lost Language of Lament: “This is one of Jesus’ most unbelievable and scandalous statements about His Father. Nothing like it had ever been spoken before. The Father is merciful to the ungrateful and the wicked, Jesus says. With these words He opens a door to an understanding of God which He would perfectly demonstrate on the cross. Jesus would die for the ungrateful and the wicked so the Father could show them mercy.”

It seems to us that being kind to our enemies should be enough.  Jesus says, “No.  You must LOVE them.”  One of the greatest qualities about love is that it is forgiving, compassionate, dare we say, merciful?  There have been many times when I wondered why it was that God wanted me to be kind to someone who had hurt me, to love them.  It always seemed as if it did no good.  Sure, I’d cling to the verse about doing good towards them and in doing so, I’d be heaping piles of burning coals on their head (Romans 12:20)!  (Ah, now that’s the kind of motivation that usually moves us – causing pain to someone who has hurt us!!!!)  But other than that, why, Lord?  Why should I love and do good to them other than to cause them guilt, shame and hopefully, remorse?  I think Michael may be on to something: it’s because when we love them and do good to them that we are most easily recognizable as children of the Most High.  And as always, God doesn’t ever ask us to do something that He hasn’t already done – God demonstrated His own love and compassion on the cross through the death of Christ for one reason: so the Father could show them mercy.

God wants us to love our enemies so that God is modeled to them and so that He can show mercy to them.  As always, it’s not about us and what we can or can’t do, it’s about God and what He wants to do through us. 

PRAYER: God, we are not very noble creatures and we are not driven by very noble motives.  The words and commands of Jesus sometimes are shocking to us and we can’t understand how you could ask such things of us.  Help us to realize that it is your heart of love and mercy that brought us to repentance and which longs for all to come to salvation.  Help us to love our enemies so that You can show them Your mercy.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/09/15 – Everything That Was Against Us

DayBreaks for 10/09/05: Everything That Was Against Us  

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT) – Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

How badly do you want God to know you?  How do you feel about the fact that He DOES know you?  Does it bring you comfort, or does it frighten you? 

We all want God to know what’s happening to us.  We don’t want Him to have a memory lapse and lose sight of us or forget about us.  We even usually want other people to know what’s happening to us – whether it is good (which we want to share) or whether it is hard (to share the burden with us).  But there’s big difference between people, or even God, knowing what is happening in our lives versus knowing US. 

Depending on how you’re living your life – morally or not-so-morally – you may not want God to really know you all that well.  (Of course, none of us are moral, but some professing Christians make no pretense of living a moral life – they are drunkards, drug abusers, sexually immoral, foul-mouthed, etc.)  Are those folks truly Christians?  Well, the “fruit” of their lives makes it a bit hard to tell, and Jesus did say that’s how we would be able to recognize His children.  Still, it’s not my place (nor yours!) to determine who is in the kingdom and who is outside the kingdom – that’s for God alone to know and decide.  But the point I’m trying to make is simply this: most Christians struggle with knowing that God knows all about them – even the tiniest, most minute detail that we hide from everyone else.  God knows.  Oh, He knows it all.  And that makes many very uncomfortable, leading to guilt and shame and a spirit of discouragement.

Let me share something that A. W. Tozer wrote about this in The Knowledge of the Holy: “How unutterably sweet is the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows us completely.  No talebearer can inform on us; no enemy can make an accusation stick, no forgotten skeleton can come tumbling out of some hidden closet to abash us and expose our past; no unsuspected weakness in our characters can come to light to turn God away from us, since He knew us utterly before we knew Him and called us to Himself in the full knowledge of everything that was against us.”

How wonderful!  I remember the ancient story about Job and how Satan came before God accusing Job.  I feel certain that he does the same thing with each and every one of us.  But God already knows about everything that Satan could throw at us by way of accusation – and God’s already DEALT WITH IT!  He did that on the cross – 2000 years ago.  Imagine how frustrating it must be for Satan to come before Him to accuse us, only to hear God say, “I know.  I’ve known that long before you did.  And I’ve already forgiven him/her, so be gone!”

In our day and age we hear a lot about skeletons in the closet – and we’ll probably hear a lot more as the President nominates another Supreme Court justice, etc.  It seems that all too often people have skeletons in their closets that cause them to slink back into the deep shadows because no one knew about them and now they’ve come to the light of day and are being scrutinized.  That will never happen with us and God.  And He loves us in spite of all He knows!

Jer. 12:3a – Yet you know me, O LORD; you see me and test my thoughts about you.

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 7/06/15 – Choose Your Enemies Carefully

DayBreaks for 7/06/15: Choose Your Enemies Carefully

You’ve heard the old saying, “Choose your friends carefully!”  Why do people say that?  Because if you choose human friends poorly, they may turn on you when it is to their advantage. Or, consider the other reason and another old saw you have probably heard: “Evil companions corrupt good morals.”  In other words, if you choose friends who are not living upright lives, you will probably be tempted to join them in whatever it is that they are doing once your friendship progresses and the peer pressure weighs you down. It is truly wise to choose one’s friends carefully.

But, have you ever considered the importance of choosing your enemies wisely?

First, wouldn’t it be great to not have any enemies at all? We are to pray for our enemies. We are to, as much as it is humanly possible, live at peace with all people. We are commanded to love our enemies. But even that command acknowledges the simple fact that we will have enemies. So, we should learn to choose them wisely.

It is one thing to have enemies in this world. The Devil is our adversary – roaming there and there – trying to find those he can consume. He is an enemy, though none of us have ever seen him.

Listen to this passage from James 4:4 –You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. – James 4:4 (ESV)

It is one thing to have other humans as enemies – as long as they are “enemies” because they are opposed to God. It is our human condition that Satan is our enemy – even if we “serve” him he’s our enemy – because He wants only to kill and to destroy, even while he pretends to be their friends.

I, for one, do not want to have an All-powerful God as my enemy. And that puts me (and you!) directly on a collision course with a critical decision: we can choose to be a friend of the world or a friend of God. We can’t be friends with both. It is not possible.

What might you have to change in order to  no longer be a friend of the world, but God’s friend instead?

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 3/31/15 – Death Sentence

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DayBreaks for 3/31/15: Death Sentence

Do you recall either of the movies, Dead Man Walking or The Green Mile?  Both of those movies were about prisoners on death row and their impending execution.  I’ve often wondered what goes through the mind of someone in such a situation as the days pass by and the appointed time of execution comes nearer…and then finally arrives.  What do they think about in their final hours?  What about their feelings and emotions as the seconds tick off along with their heartbeats? 

There are those who have cancer…who also know that their end is approaching.  They may not know a date and time, but they know it is coming. 

Then, there was Jesus.  He was the only one who knew his execution was coming on the day we call “Good Friday”.  But he knew, oh, he knew!  He had spoken of his destiny in no uncertain terms, but his disciples just didn’t get it.  And so he had to bear the foreknowledge alone.  On this day nearly 2000 years ago, Jesus knew that he had 96 hours (give or take) before his execution.  What was the human side of Jesus thinking?  How could he possibly contain his emotions?  What was he thinking on this day 2000 years ago at the very moment you are reading this?

To all appearances, he was the epitome of cool and calm.  Until, that is, the Garden of Gethsemane when he was in “agony”.  Even God has emotions…and Jesus was also 100% human.  I cannot fathom it…

When I was in Gethsemane this summer, we entered the church that contains the stone where it is said Jesus prayed.  I was in tears thinking of what he must have felt and experienced there.

The other day as I thought about this DayBreaks, it dawned on me that we all have a death sentence.  We’ve lived with it from the moment of conception.  We try to pretend it doesn’t exist…but it does.  It is every bit as real as any death sentence handed down from a judge. 

But if Easter means one thing, it surely must mean this: this death sentence can be overturned, and indeed, the ultimate death sentence is overturned for all who put their faith and trust in Jesus.

PRAYER: Thank you, Jesus, for taking our ultimate death sentence onto your own shoulders at Calvary…and then for proving Your power to overturn even death itself!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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