DayBreaks for 1/30/19 – Playing Dress-up

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DayBreaks for 1/30/2019: Playing Dress-up

From the DayBreaks archive, dated 1/27/2009:

From Ovi’s World of the Bizarre, Dec. 4, 1997: “A 17-year-old was arrested and charged with robbing a bank while dressed in a cowboy outfit. According to police reports, Dustin Marshall tipped his hat and yelled, ‘Giddy-up!’ as he pointed the ‘cowboy-type pistol’ at bank employees. Marshall was also charged with robbing another bank six days later while wearing a ghost mask.”

Galen’s Thoughts: This story is rather funny, but at the same time, pathetic. One of the things that bank robbers do is try to conceal their identity so that they won’t be discovered or “found out”. They know that if their identity remains hidden that it is harder to prosecute then for a crime.

What’s the lesson? Well, besides not holding up a bank while yelling “Giddy-up!”, I suppose it could be that in our Christian walk we can dress up and pretend to be something that we aren’t. In the case of Dustin Marshall, he was found out. In our case, we will be found out, too. Matthew 10:26b puts it this way: …There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.

In the context in which Jesus gave this teaching, he is talking about the things that the servants of Satan do which seem to remain hidden – they seem like they might be good things when indeed, Satan is behind them. They seem to get away with those things, too! Jesus told this to his followers so that they wouldn’t be discouraged thinking that evil people will get away with their evil. You’ve got Jesus’ word on it!

Can you imagine what it would have been like to hear these words directly from Jesus’ mouth? How do they make you feel even now? Don’t we all wear some masks, some kind of costume, to hide our real identities, sins and fallen nature?

When I was a very little boy, my sister and I would visit our grandparents in their farm house. Sometimes we’d go upstairs into the huge closets and we’d pull on our grandparents clothes over our own and pretend to be someone else. It may work in a child’s imagination, but God sees right through our disguises and promises that even the things which are concealed and hidden will be made known.

The next time we’re thinking about acting righteous when we’re really not, when we think we’ve hidden our tracks well enough that no one will find out, let’s remember these words of Jesus and think soberly about what will be revealed about us!

Prayer: As we navigate our way through this day, Lord, may we be mindful that every word, every thought, every action is laid bare before Your all-seeing eyes.    In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 1/18/19 – The Braggart

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DayBreaks for 01/18/2019: The Braggart

From the DayBreaks archive, January 2009:

I recently took a “fun” quiz that was forwarded around on the Internet, and one of the questions was to name a characteristic that you hate.  I have to admit that I struggled with that one.  I don’t enjoy being around complainers (fortunately, there are very few of those in my life!) or those who are always trying to impress someone with their talk or wisdom.  Maybe that’s because I can get easily confused and I’m not smart enough to follow their big words.  People who are always talking “big talk” to impress are generally very insecure people, and they remind me of this rather humorous story:

A man was driving through the countryside when suddenly his car stalled.  He got out to see what was wrong, and as he bent over the motor, he heard a voice say, ‘That trip to Japan was wonderful last spring.’  He looked around but saw no one.  All he could see was an old horse standing in the meadow.  The horse looked straight at him and said, ‘Yes, that trip was almost as good as the one to Paris and Rome the year before.’

Well, the man became almost hysterical with excitement.  He ran to the farmhouse at the edge of the meadow, pounded on the door, took out his billfold and said, ‘I want to buy that horse at any price.’  Calmly, the farmer replied, ‘Oh, you mustn’t pay too much attention to that horse.  He hasn’t been to half the places he talks about.’

Why is it that we have such a strong tendency to promote ourselves and talk about ourselves in ways that are intended to do nothing but try to impress others?  I think James 3:13-16 gives us some really good clues: If you are wise and understand God’s ways, live a life of steady goodness so that only good deeds will pour forth. And if you don’t brag about the good you do, then you will be truly wise! But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your hearts, don’t brag about being wise. That is the worst kind of lie. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and motivated by the Devil. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every kind of evil.

Bottom line: we either are bragging about the good things we do (and why would we do that? – to get the praise of humans!), OR we are jealous and full of selfish ambition and so we brag about what we’ve done and how good we are – the “worst kind of lie” as James put it.  Such things are not motivated by God or by trying to bring Him glory, but by the Devil!

How much better off we’d be if no one was trying to impress others!!!!  Let us be content to be what and who God created us to be.  When we live that way, we bring Him glory!

PRAYER: Father, may we trust in You to honor those who are genuine in Your time and may we not pursue the praise of other humans.  Help us to be content to be what You have made us to be!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/07/17 – A Fake Disappoints

DayBreaks for 9/07/17: A Fake Disappoints

From the DayBreaks archive, 9/2007:

A woman in Georgia is facing charges after calling police about getting her money back for a fake crack rock she allegedly bought from a drug dealer. Juanita Marie Jones called police in Rochelle on a recent Thursday night to complain she was unhappy with some crack cocaine she purchased that night, the Cordelle Dispatch reported.  The 53-year-old woman allegedly told police she purchased what she thought was a $20 piece of crack cocaine, but after breaking the rock into three pieces and smoking one, she thought the cocaine was “fake.” She told Officer Joel Quinn and Deputy John Shedd of the Wilcox County Sheriff’s Office she wanted them to get her money back. The officers were invited into Jones’ kitchen where showed them the alleged “fake” crack, at which time they arrested her for possession of cocaine. She is now awaiting a bond hearing.

This story is sad and tragic on many fronts.  It’s hard to even know where to begin!

It’s sad how we pursue all sorts of things in life that can’t give us what we truly want.  It’s sad how we spend money on things that are real or fake, only to be dissatisfied.  It’s a tragic thing that fakery can cost us so much.

1 Peter 1:6-9 (NIV) In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

How many of us would buy a piece of property sight-unseen?  “If you believe that, I’ve got a piece of property I’d like to sell you,” goes one saying that highlights the foolishness of doing things sight-unseen, without having checked out the validity of what we’re investing in.  And yet, as Peter so eloquently put it (especially for a fisherman!), we haven’t seen Jesus (Peter had!), but we’ve invested quite a bit into him through faith.  We’ve committed our present life and our future days and all of eternity to someone we’ve not beheld.  To some, it is foolishness.  But Peter had seen Jesus, he had touched him, smelled him, hear him, and Peter seeks to reassure us that any investment we make in Jesus will not leave us disappointed.  Jesus is real.  He is merely unseen.  But our faith in him will be proved genuine when we see him at last.

Don’t be suckered into buying fakes when the real thing can be had for free. 

PRAYER: Father, give us discerning hearts to know the real from the fake, the genuine article from a cheap imitation.  Assure our hearts that when we see him, all we’ve believed about Your goodness and Your Son will be proved genuine.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/18/17 – You Christians

DayBreaks for 1/18/17: You Christians

Note: Galen is traveling this week so he’s recycling some old DayBreaks.

FROM THE DAYBREAKS ARCHIVE, January, 2007:

As Christians, we talk the language of faith rather easily.  It spills from our lips without much effort.  Sprinkle in a few “praise God’s”, add some fancy terms like redemption, forgiveness, repentance, being “born again”, and we’re quickly in the realm of Christian-ese.  The computer business has its own language, as does nearly every discipline in the world.  What is so sad about that is that the “inside language” only communicates to those who are already “inside”.  Our words, quite honestly, are easy and cheap.  Our Christian life, a true Christian life, is not easy at all, but hard. Maybe that’s why Jesus suggested it involves a cross.

A 23-year old woman from the University of Paris was doing graduate work when she wrote this rather stinging critique of Christians: “To me a Christian is either a man who lives in Christ or a phony.  You Christians do not appreciate that it is on this – the almost external testimony that you give of God – that we judge you.  You ought to radiate Christ.  Your faith ought to flow out to us like a river of life.   You ought to infect us with a love for him.  It is then that God who was impossible becomes possible for the atheist and for those of us whose faith is wavering.  We cannot help being struck, upset, and confused by a Christian who is truly Christ-like.  And we do not forgive him when he fails to be.”

Ouch, ouch, ouch!  That hurts.  Why does it hurt so?  Perhaps because as we read it, we recognize our own failure to radiate Christ.  How much of a river of life flows out from you, from me?  Or is what flows out from us more closely akin to what flows out of a sewer or gutter?  When is the last time I’ve infected anyone with a love for Christ?  When is the last time you have personally felt truly infected by love for Jesus? 

Why is it that we, the church (especially in America), struggle to see people won to Christ?  Could it be because we aren’t infected with love for Him?  That we love our comforts, easy chairs, padded pews, pleasures and platitudes more than we love Jesus?  It reminds me of one of the letters to the churches in Revelation – the church that was full of good works, but which had lost its first love.  If there were one letter of the seven in Revelation that I believe Jesus would send to the churches (and Christians) of America (including me!), it might be that one. 

In countries where life isn’t so great and there isn’t much to love about life at all, people love Jesus – and people are won to Christ by the thousands, finding in him the love and hope that assuages their hunger and loneliness.  The world longs to find the answer to the great questions of life, and they hope, they really do, that we can help them find the answer.  But when we fail to do so, “we do not forgive him when he fails…”. 

Christ, and those who follow him, should cause unbelievers to be struck, upset and confused.  Jesus had that impact on the people of his day.  And if he lives in us, we will have that impact of the people of our day.  The extent that we don’t have that effect may be the most telling sign that Jesus is not the center of our life – and may not even be within us at all.

PRAYER:  For our failures to be reflections of Your love and grace, for our weak love for Your son, Jesus, we ask your forgiveness.  Infect us afresh with a love for Him that will cause us to confound and confuse those who greet us because we have become like our Master.  Help our “external testimony”, the evidence of a life lived in and by the Spirit, be an honor to You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 8/10/11 – Counterfeit Hope

DayBreaks for 08/10/11 – Counterfeit Hope

Only the real thing has value...

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. – Romans 15:13

Have you ever had high hopes for something and then seen those hopes crumble to pieces? It happened to one man in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His story hit the news wires as one of those sadly humorous, stupid-thief tales. Actually, if you knew him, his story is probably only very sad.

He wanted money. Maybe he desperately needed money. Perhaps he had a substance addiction or owed tens of thousands of dollars on a charge card. Regardless, somehow he got the idea to go into a grocery store, hand the checkout clerk counterfeit money, and ask for change. If it worked, he would get real money in exchange for fake money. Brilliant!

He was a big thinker. If he was going to risk attempting this fraud, he was going to do it in a way that would set him up for life. So he decided to try to pass off not a counterfeit $100 bill, not a counterfeit $1,000 bill, not even a counterfeit $10,000 bill, but a counterfeit $1,000,000 bill.

Again, you can pat this poor fellow on the back for thinking big, but you also have to pity him for thinking badly. First, you have to suspect that the average checkout clerk doesn’t keep a million dollars in her drawer. Second, you have to think that a one million dollar bill is going to attract some extra attention and might even bring the scrutiny of the store manager. Third—this is the clincher—there is no such thing as a $1,000,000 bill. The largest currency printed in the U.S. is a $100 bill!

When the counterfeiter walked into the supermarket on that Saturday in Pittsburgh, holding that one million dollar bill in his sweaty hand, just imagine his soaring hopes. Soon he would be able to pay his bills, buy a nice house and car, get all the things he had always wanted, never work another day in his life. This would be his lucky day!

Needless to say, his high hopes were dashed. The checkout clerk refused to give him change for his bogus bill. The manager came and confiscated the forgery. His dreams went up in smoke. He got angry. He grabbed the electronic funds transfer machine and slammed it on the counter. He tried to grab the scanning gun used to read product labels. Soon the police had him in custody.

It’s a sad, sad thing when a person’s high hopes come to nothing. How do you know when your hopes are resting on something true and legitimate and real, instead of on something bogus and stupid? Where do you place your hope?

PRAYER: Father, help us to hope in nothing more, and nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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