DayBreaks for 10/26/17 – Ask Not for Whom the Cock Crows

Image result for crowing rooster

DayBreaks for 10/26/17: Ask Not for Whom the Cock Crows

John 18:25-27 (ESV) – Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.

I have often wondered why God put some of the things He did in Scripture. Like today’s text, for instance. There can be no doubt that Jesus and Peter were very close friends. There can be no doubt that they loved one another deeply. And yet, here we have it: Peter’s denial recorded in black and white for people to read and ponder.

If I had been the one determining what would be written, I would have left things like this, and David’s dalliance with Bathsheba, and Noah’s drunkenness out of the pages of holy writ. I would have wanted to save Peter, David, Noah and countless others the embarrassment of having their failures recorded and paraded in front of people for thousands of years. And you’d think that God would have wanted to save them the embarrassment, too. But it wasn’t up to me. And that’s a really good thing.

I believe that God put those things into Scripture to encourage us in our humanity. Let me explain: there hasn’t been any human who has ever endeavored to live the Christian life who hasn’t found themselves despairing over their own failures in ethical, moral and all other ways. Imagine how difficult and discouraging it would be if all we had were stories off the great triumphs: the saving of humanity in the ark, the victory over the giant Goliath, Peter’s great ministry and brave martyrdom. And if we were only to have those stories and compared ourselves to them, we’d be devastated. So, God in His great wisdom, knew we needed to hear of the failures of the great men and women of faith so we wouldn’t be discouraged.

And here’s another thing: Scripture shows us that God deeply loved all those flawed characters, and that gives me hope, too, that He can love a sinner like me.

We shouldn’t gloat over the fact that we’ve not done like Peter did, for we have all denied and betrayed the One who would die for us. We should never ask for whom the cock crows, for it crows for each of us!

PRAYER: Thank you for the stories of Scripture – good and bad – and showing us that even our failures can’t overcome your plan for us nor your love for us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 8/23/17 – On Rough Water, #2

DayBreaks for 8/23/17: On Rough Water #2

Matthew 14:26-31 (ESV) – But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Why did Peter sink? Of course, we know the answer because the passage tells us. He was afraid when he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the wind. So let’s not waste time on that question when I think there’s a better question to ask.

Why does Peter call out to Jesus? If Peter really was a man of little faith (as Jesus says), why did he call out to Jesus? In what way had Peter demonstrated a lack of faith? After all, he’d stepped out of the boat, walked on the water, and when he got in trouble, he called out to Jesus! All of those things cry out “faith!” to me, and probably to you, too. So, why would he have called out to Jesus if he didn’t have faith that Jesus could do something about his sinking situation?

On Sunday, I think I heard an answer. It wasn’t a question of whether nor not Jesus could do something. All Peter had to do was look at Jesus walking securely on the water to know that Jesus could do anything he wanted to do! I think that is was a question of whether or not Jesus would do something. It wasn’t a question of ability but of willingness. Peter wasn’t sure that Jesus would be willing to save him. Why? Not sure, but I suspect it revolved around several things: 1) Peter knew he had in some sense “failed” because he was sinking; 2) Peter wasn’t sure enough about Jesus’ love for him given not just this failure, but others that Peter and Jesus were certainly aware of.

I believe Peter had all the faith in the world about Jesus’ ability, but like us, he’s prone to doubt Jesus’ willingness after we’ve blown it yet again. After all the promises to God to never to that thing again – we do it. After all the times when we’ve thought evil thoughts, after all the times we’ve failed tests that God has sent our way…we don’t believe that Jesus loves us enough to help. And that is why Jesus says Peter is a man of little faith.

Do you see it? When we doubt that Jesus could possibly love us enough, we’re being just like Peter. We’re expressing lack of faith not in Jesus’ ability, but his willingness to save a “wretch like me”.

So what does Jesus do when Peter cried out: immediately he reached out and grabbed Peter. Will we learn from that, will we come to believe that Jesus loves us enough to reach out to us in spite of our bazillion failures? Peter came to believe it. I hope we do, too.  

PRAYER: Lord, when we are tempted to doubt that you love us enough to rescue sinking people like us, remind us of your willingness to bear the awful crucifixion for us. Whenever we begin to doubt that you could possibly still love us in spite of our failures, let us remember the lengths you went to in order to show us your endless and immeasurable love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 07/04/12 – The Rock Who Became a Sandpile

DayBreaks for 07/04/12 – The Rock Who Became a Sandpile

(NOTE: Galen is back from his trip to India, is recovering from the removal of his gall bladder, so one more week of archived DayBreaks!  New DayBreaks starting again next week!)

Matthew 16:18 – “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

What makes authentic disciples is not visions, ecstasies, biblical mastery of chapter and verse, or spectacular success in the ministry, but a capacity for faithfulness.  Buffeted by the fickle winds of failure, battered by their own unruly emotions, and bruised by rejection and ridicule, authentic disciples have stumbled and frequently fallen, endured lapses and relapses, gotten handcuffed to the fleshpots and wandered into a far county.  Yet, they kept coming back to Jesus.”  Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

We know the stories from the bible of the men and women of God.  Abraham – father of the faithful.  David – the shepherd who became Israel’s greatest king.  Peter – the simple fisherman who became one of the greatest fishers of men.  Yet we need to remember that Abraham was a liar – and a doubter of God.  David was king – but also struggled with his sexual passions that spun out of control and led to murder and punishment on his people.  Peter, for all his greatness, will also be remembered for the three-fold denial in the hour of Jesus’ greatest need.  But Manning’s point is well made – all the men and women who are “great” found themselves often on the shoals of a shipwrecked faith as the result of their failings.  Listen again to Manning:

The portrait of Peter, the rock who proved to be a sand pile, speaks to every ragamuffin across the generations. Lloyd Ogilvie notes: ‘Peter had built his whole relationship with Jesus Christ on his assumed capacity to be adequate.  That’s why he took his denial of the Lord so hard.  His strength, loyalty, and faithfulness were his self-generated assets of discipleship.  The fallacy in Peter’s mind was this: he believed his relationship was dependent on his consistency in producing the qualities he though had earned him the Lord’s approval.

“Many of us face the same problem.  We project into our Lord our own measured standard of acceptance.  Our whole understanding of him is based on a quid pro quo of bartered love.  He will love us if we are good, moral and diligent.  But we have turned the tables; we try to live so that he will love us, RATHER THAN LIVING BECAUSE HE HAS ALREADY LOVED US.”

How many of us have erected our own “systems” which we believed would placate the wrath of God and make us “acceptable” to Him?  Do we really believe we can earn his love by being “good”?  Perhaps for you, it is your dedication to your family which you believe will put you in good stead with God.  Not so.  Maybe it is the years of faithful ministry that you hope will get you through when you stand before Him.  It won’t.  You could bake twelve dozen turkey meals and day and feed the poor, but that won’t do the trick, either.

We try so hard to “live so that he will love us”.  When will we catch on and REALLY start living with the full assurance and boldness that he has already, and does forever, love us?

Matthew 7:24-27 – “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

Copyright 2002 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Lord, crush us and grind us down until we are fit for Your use!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

I Am 2 has just launched another project: to put in a water system for what will be the only pediatric hospital in all of Rwanda!  If you are interested in learning more, go to our blog: http://iam2.org/blog to read about it and learn how you can help! We are trying to raise up a massive army of compassionate people who will each contribute whatever they can – even $5-10 each, to help us deliver this water system through our partner, BeyondPoverty.org.  The budget for this water system is $8300.  Every gift matters…and every gift is appreciated!  They ALL make a difference!

Also, don’t forget our other project, Bright Future Children’s Home.  You can read the latest update about them at the blog, too, and can help us move forward with the feeding, clean water and protection these 37 kids in Kenya need to not just live, but grow!!!  We still need to raise a bit over $4000 to fulfill our mission.  Donations are tax deductible for 2012.  If you prefer to send a check rather than give through PayPal, write it and mail it to: I Am 2 Partners, Inc., c/o 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092.

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