DayBreaks for 9/13/16 – Suffering, Control and Faith

 

DayBreaks for 9/13/16 – Suffering, Control…and Faith

From our worship bulletin 9/11/16:

Most mornings, I read a bit from The Gospel According to Job, a book I discovered a number of years ago and it’s been a tremendous help, as I have wrestled with questions about pain and suffering (Galen’s note: I concur, this is a great book!)  Job, of course, is the book of the Old Testament which tells the story of a man who experiences suffering and the journey he’s on to make sense of it. So, as I was reading this morning, the author, Mike Mason, says this: Whatever our theology might be, in any tragedy there is just something in our finite minds, that gravitates immediately toward the theory of human causes. If human beings bear direct responsibility for everything bad that happens to them, then the plain corollary of these theses is that we also have the power to affect our own good. Such a thoroughly watertight system of cause and effect, Job correctly sees, leaves no room for dependent faith, no room for the gospel.

Now, of course we have to bear responsibility for our actions, and yes, some of our “suffering” is the result of our sin. However, belief that every bad thing that happens to us is a product of our personal sin is just not in the bible. Still, you will find people who teach that it all comes back to us. A friend of mine lost a child to sudden infant death, and at that time he and his wife were involved in a church (or a cult) which believed one’s suffering was always the result of their sin. So, his child died, and it was believed he and/or his wife had some un-confessed sin in their life. When my friend shared this with me, I was incredulous. I asked him how he dealt with this accusation. He said they first left the church. Good! Second, he said he figure out something. If the people (particularly the leaders) in that church could blame the death  of his child on the sin of the parents, then that meant other parents could avoid a similar tragedy by “obeying” God. Of course, if it wasn’t their sin that caused the child’s death (which it wasn’t) then those parents had to face the reality that something like this could happen to them.

You see, I think it gets back to us having the control and not God. With that theology comes the mistaken belief that somehow we have the ability to ward off all suffering. Now, do I wish I had the power to do that? Absolutely! (Galen’s note: when I’m asked what super power I would have if I could, I inevitably reply with the power to take away suffering.) But that is not the way of the Lord. Would I like to have answers to every question I pose to God? Yes, but in the end, if all suffering is a result of my choices, the maybe it isn’t about my faith but more about finding a way to gain control. Perhaps, if we get control, we can eliminate any walk of faith. Mason goes on to say: Job knows he can neither reason his way out of it (though he may realize how irrational his negative thoughts are), nor pray his way out (thought he continues to pray automatically), nor run away (though he may be sorely tempted to try), nor do anything whatsoever to ameliorate his circumstances. He knows he is powerless to help himself, and so it is up to God to help him. To adopt such a stance under conditions of trauma is the highest kind of faith.

PRAYER: Father, we don’t want trauma, suffering or pain. But when it comes our way, may we seek You and Your help! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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DayBreaks for 11/24/14 – Without a Single Fault

DayBreaks for 11/24/14 – Without a Single Fault

I have a very easy, quick question for you, and you have about 1 second to think of the answer: Who is the only person to ever live a perfect live?  OK, you got it right: Jesus.

When you think about it, that’s quite a statement, isn’t it?  A perfect life.  Not once did he sin in thought, word or deed.  It’s inconceivable, isn’t it?

There is a subject in theological circles around what is called the “peccability” of Christ.  It is a theological topic for debate that asks the question: Was Christ capable of sin?  You might respond “Yes, of course.  He was tempted in all ways like we are – yet was without sin.”  That is true, but it doesn’t really answer the question: was he capable of sin?  On the one hand, he was fully human – he was able to be tempted as a human.  On the other hand, he was fully God – who cannot be tempted to do evil.  So, though we believe he didn’t sin, was he capable of it?  I’ll be honest: I don’t know.

I suspect, though I hope no one will hold me to it, that in his human nature he could have, but the God-nature (100% of it!) was totally incapable of it as He can’t be tempted to do evil nor can He do evil himself.  I think the God nature is so much stronger than the human nature that he may not have been able to.  But that doesn’t take anything away from his sinlessness…he was tempted so he knows what it feels like and how hard it is to resist.

So, back to the first question: the only person to ever live a perfect life was Jesus.  But did you know that you will be brought into the presence of God Himself, who ALONE is able to keep you from falling, and who WILL bring you into His own Presence without a single fault?!?!  Listen: Jude 1:24-25 (NLT) – Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

I like how Jude put it: he didn’t say that God was able to cause us to be without a single fault, but that He WILL see to it that it happens!  As far as God is concerned, when you show up, as a believer in Christ, YOU will be without a single fault.  Not one.  Not even a little one.  None!

Is it any wonder that Jude broke out into a doxology of praise in the final verse of his short book!!!???

Be at peace…

PRAYER: All glory, majesty, power, and authority to You, the Alpha and Omega, Who lives forever and ever, and who WILL present us to the Father without a single fault on our record! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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DayBreaks for 04/06/11 – Some Things Never Change

DayBreaks for 04/06/11 – Some Things Never Change

From the DayBreaks archive, dated 4/26/2001:

 

Who are you blaming?

Genesis 3:8-12 – “8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”  10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”  11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”  12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me–she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.

 

Have you noticed how we live in a day and age when no one is responsible for anything anymore?  Consider what has happened in America in the last 20 years:

If a woman burns her legs on the hot coffee she was holding in her lap while driving, she blames the restaurant.

If your teenage son kills himself, we blame the rock and roll musician he liked.

If you smoke three packs a day for 40 years and die of lung cancer your family blames the tobacco company.

If your daughter gets pregnant by the football captain you blame the school for poor sex education.

If your neighbor crashes into a tree while driving home drunk, he blames the bartender.

If your cousin gets AIDS because the needle he used to shoot heroin was dirty, you blame the government for not providing clean ones.

If your grandchildren are brats without manners, you blame television.

And, if your friend is shot by a deranged madman, you blame the gun manufacturer.

And, if a crazed person breaks into the cockpit and tries to kill the pilots at 35,000 feet, and the passengers kill him instead, the mother of the deceased blames the airline.

It started that way in the garden of Eden and it hasn’t changed since.  Adam wasn’t man enough to own up to his own failure – he blamed it on someone else.   Note how his answer brazenly accused both God and Eve for his problem – “The woman YOU put here with me – SHE gave me some of the fruit…”  It is always someone else’s fault, and to avoid living up to our own responsibilities, we’ll even blame God for putting us in the situation.  We live as if there are no consequences to our own choices.  And in our American legal system, perhaps we can actually avoid having to take those consequences and get away “scott free”.

In God’s plan, however, we won’t have that luxury.  God didn’t accept Adam’s excuse in the garden, nor the woman’s excuse.  They both had to pay the price and bear the consequences.  We will be no different:  2 Cor. 5:10 – “10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”  On that day, we will be face to face with the ultimate reality that we were responsible for our choices – good or bad – and that God won’t buy our lame excuses as to who was really to blame for our problems or our sin.

PRAYER: Teach us to own up to our failures and not try to blame our lack of obedience on anyone or anything else besides the sin that is in our hearts.  Give us strength through Your Spirit to resist temptation!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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